catalan
Protesters hold up a large Catalan independence flag as they demonstrate against the government's Ebro River Basin Management Plan in DeltebreReuters

Catalonia's leader Artus Mas has revealed the Spanish region has cancelled its independence referendum scheduled for 9 November, after Spain's central government tried to block its bid for self-government through the courts.

According to Mas, while the referendum will not go ahead on 9 November, a "consultation of citizens", will take place on that day instead, and the results will be known on 10 November.

Earlier this month Mas, the president of Catalonia's regional assembly, appointed a seven-strong committee to oversee the referendum ballot, despite the Spanish government trying to block the vote.

However he now appears to have rowed back, telling a press conference: "The vote will not happen according to Law of Consultations and the decree I signed, obviously because the Spanish Government has suspended both.

"We're moving forward, not as united, but forward. Commitment means Catalan Government will hold the vote on that date, with ballot boxes and ballots. I would have preferred maximum consensus but it is now not possible.

"This option is still at our disposal and it is the most feared option by the Spanish government.

"Although consensus is broken, I know for sure the real adversary is the Spanish state, which does everything it can to keep Catalan people from voting. We now need more people than ever, we are a bit more alone."

Catalonia is an industrial and commercial titan in Spain and pays far higher taxes than any other regional community.

It accounts for over 20% of Spain's GDP, and only 8% is ploughed back into it by the state.

The Catalan community represents 16% of the total Spanish population.

Spain, which is still struggling to recover from the credit crunch in 2008 and the Eurozone debt crisis of 2010, is concerned that the vote would tear the country apart financially.