Key dates in Catalonia's push for independence

Madrid (AFP) –


Catalan separatists won a crucial vote against anti-independence parties, plunging the region into further uncertainty on Friday.

Demands for self-rule in Catalonia date back centuries. Here are the key dates in the region's recent independence drive:

- 2006: 'Nation' charter -

March 2006: Catalans agree a new autonomy charter, increasing their fiscal and judicial powers and describing Catalonia as a "nation".

June 2010: Spain's Constitutional Court strikes down parts of the charter in response to a government appeal, sparking protests.

- 2012: independence demands -

September 11, 2012: More than a million people protest in Barcelona demanding independence for Catalonia.

September 20: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejects a call for greater tax-and-spend powers for the region. Catalan president Artur Mas calls a snap election promising a referendum on Catalonia's future.

November 26: Mas's centre-right CiU alliance wins the election overall but fails to secure an absolute majority in parliament.

- 2013: human chain -

September 11, 2013: Hundreds of thousands of Catalans form a human chain stretching more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) across the Mediterranean coast to push for independence.

- 2014: symbolic vote -

November 9, 2014: Catalonia defies Madrid and presses ahead with a symbolic vote on independence. Turnout is just 37 percent, of which over 80 percent vote in favour of independence.

- 2015: parliamentary majority -

September 27, 2015: In regional elections, the pro-independence alliance secures an absolute majority in the parliament but falls short of a majority of votes with 47.8 percent.

November 9: All 72 pro-independence lawmakers in the Catalan parliament vote to kick off the process to secede from Spain.

January 10, 2016: Carles Puigdemont becomes president of Catalonia.

- 2017: referendum -

October 1: The Catalan government defies a Spanish court ban and presses ahead with a referendum on independence. A police crackdown on voters sparks international concern.

Turnout is around 43 percent, of which 90 percent back independence.

- 'Independence' declared -

October 27: The Catalan parliament defies warnings from the central government and unilaterally declares independence from Spain.

Madrid takes the unprecedented step of stripping the region of its autonomy, sacking its government and parliament and calling snap elections.

- Detention, exile -

November 2017: A Spanish court charges Puigdemont and other top members of the axed government with sedition and rebellion.

Puigdemont flees to Belgium. His former deputy Oriol Junqueras and other secessionists are remanded in custody pending trial.

- Separatists win poll -

December 21: Separatists win a parliamentary majority in the elections, raising the question of how they will govern with leaders in exile and behind bars.

With turnout at a record high of 82 percent, the three pro-independence lists win 70 of the 135 seats in the regional parliament but only 47.6 percent of the vote.

Anti-secessionist centrist party Ciudadanos achieves the biggest individual result with 37 seats.

December 22: Puigdemont calls on Rajoy to hold talks outside Spain, where he faces arrest. Rajoy promptly rejects the request.