Spanish PM urges Catalans to vote separatists out of office

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is urging Catalans to oust separatists from their regional parliament in an early election he has called for Dec. 21.

Rajoy has told members of his conservative Popular Party in Barcelona that "we want a massive turnout to open up a new period of normalcy."

Rajoy's visit to Catalonia's main city was his first to the northeastern region since he used extraordinary powers to stifle its secession push. After Catalonia's Parliament voted Oct. 27 in favor of a declaration of independence, Rajoy responded by firing its government, dissolving its parliament and calling the early election.

Spain's leader says "it's urgent to return a sense of normality to Catalonia and do so as soon as possible to lower the social and economic tensions."