Catalan leaders have voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain, just hours before Madrid was expected to impose direct rule on the region.

In a ballot boycotted by opposition MPs, the Catalan parliament voted 70-10 in favour of the motion to declare independence from Spain. There were two blank ballots and 53 did not vote.

The vote comes just hours ahead of a vote in the Spanish senate in Madrid, where MPs are expected to approve Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s plan to implement direct rule over Catalonia and take control of the region’s finances, police, and public media.

The ongoing crisis follows a referendum on 1st October, which Madrid maintains was an illegal ballot, where Catalan residents voted 90 percent in favour of independence with a 43 percent turnout.

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