World

Spain's leader calls Catalan secession vote a flop, won't discuss holding a proper referendum

Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas gestures during a press conference at the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The Catalonia region's president was riding a wave of enthusiasm among independence seekers Monday, a day after a non-binding vote on secession from Spain showed strong though not overwhelming support for breaking away. Mas opted for an unofficial consultation after parliament, where Rajoy's Popular Party has a majority, rejected his call for a referendum and Spain's judiciary concurred. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas gestures during a press conference at the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The Catalonia region's president was riding a wave of enthusiasm among independence seekers Monday, a day after a non-binding vote on secession from Spain showed strong though not overwhelming support for breaking away. Mas opted for an unofficial consultation after parliament, where Rajoy's Popular Party has a majority, rejected his call for a referendum and Spain's judiciary concurred. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has dismissed Catalonia's non-binding vote on secession from Spain as a failure and ruled out talks about holding a legal independence ballot.

Rajoy said Wednesday that in addition to being against the law, Sunday's vote only saw about one-third of Catalans take part, despite months of pro-independence campaigning by Catalan authorities.

Catalan officials say 2.3 million people voted, with 80 percent of them approving secession. Some 6.3 million people were eligible to vote.

Catalan regional President Artur Mas, who claims the poll was a success, on Tuesday demanded negotiations with Rajoy toward staging an official independence referendum.

Angry at Spain's refusal to give the wealthy region more autonomy, Catalan politicians have been pushing for an independence vote for two years.