Spain warns Catalan leader against holding referendum

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Enric Millo, the Spanish government's representative in Barcelona, said Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is set to be ousted if the separatist movement goes ahead with an illegal referendum on independence this weekend.

Catalonia's chief prosecutor ordered security forces to close up buildings and guard them until Sunday's vote to avoid any ballots from being cast.

Spanish police have confiscated millions of ballots in recent days as part of a crackdown to stop the October 1 vote, which has been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court.

Senior Spanish government officials said on Tuesday authorities had done enough to prevent a meaningful referendum as Catalonia lacked an election commission, ballot boxes, ballot papers, a transparent census and election material.

On Monday - a day before Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is scheduled to meet with President Trump at the White House - I read Nauert's remarks to Sanders and asked if the US would endorse an independent Catalonia after the controversial vote Sunday.

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Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy insisted the vote wouldn't count anyhow. "Vote for the future of Catalonia".

They remain determined to hold the vote, saying the regional assembly in Barcelona will declare independence within 48 hours of a "yes" victory. "I think it would be foolish not to, if you're talking about staying with a truly great, handsome and very historic country".

Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, malfeasance and misappropriation of funds, the order said. But the Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and went to the courts to shut it down.

As a controversial referendum on the independence of Catalonia draws near, the Spanish government has expanded efforts to shut it down, even blocking access to some websites. Trump said. "I'm just for a united Spain", he said, adding that if accurate polling were done in the region "you'd find out people of Catalonia love their country, they love Spain". "They are excluding half the population", Dastis said.

A vote to split could also encourage other areas to vote for independence from the European Union (EU), experts said.