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Separatists in Catalonia launch campaign for Spain breakaway vote opposed by Madrid

  • EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN A boy waves a pro-independence Catalan flag, known as the Estelada flag, and a European flag during a electoral rally for the Catalan regional elections in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    EDS NOTE : SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN A boy waves a pro-independence Catalan flag, known as the Estelada flag, and a European flag during a electoral rally for the Catalan regional elections in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man holds a pro-independence Catalan flag, known as the Estelada flag, during an electoral rally for the Catalan regional elections in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    A man holds a pro-independence Catalan flag, known as the Estelada flag, during an electoral rally for the Catalan regional elections in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • People burn torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    People burn torches during a march for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. For a fourth consecutive year, hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans are expected to rally Friday to break away from Spain, kicking off a fresh secession bid in a push to carve out a new European nation. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

Advocates of independence for Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia have launched their campaign to try to elect a majority of secessionists in regional parliamentary elections on Sept. 27.

The campaign began Friday on the same day as the Catalan National Day holiday that separatists have used for years to rally hundreds of thousands of people in Barcelona to call for the creation of a new Mediterranean nation.

Pro-independence parties need 68 seats in the 135-member parliament to push their effort forward. Polls show them on track to win a slim majority.

They say a win would put Catalonia on a path toward a unilateral declaration of independence in 18 months.

The central government in Madrid says independence for the region is illegal and won't be allowed.