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Oct 31, 9:10 AM EDT

Spain seeks to halt informal Catalan breakup vote

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MADRID (AP) -- Spain's government is asking the country's Constitutional Court to block plans by the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia to hold an informal independence poll Nov. 9.

Catalan authorities called off an official referendum on the issue for the same date after the government challenged its legality before the court, which tentatively suspended the vote. Catalonia then opted to hold the informal ballot.

Deputy Prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Friday that the alternative poll was also unconstitutional.

If the court agrees to study the challenge, the alternative poll will also be suspended.

Catalan authorities have said the vote will be held regardless of what the court decides.

Polls indicate most Catalans want a referendum but are roughly equally divided over independence.

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