A non-binding, symbolic referendum in Catalonia saw over 80% of voters in the region come out in favor of independence from Spain, according to officials.
Four out of five of the 2 million Catalans who voted (an estimated 5.4 million were eligible to vote) said they wanted to break away from Madrid, which will put pressure on the Spanish government to announce a binding referendum.
Sunday's vote went ahead despite Spain's constitutional court ruling out a formal ballot.
Catalan leader Artur Mas said the vote was "a great success," and that the region had "earned the right" to a formal vote. He said it marked "a lesson in democracy, spelled out in capital letters."
Mas said: "Once again Catalonia has shown that it wants to rule itself."
"I ask the people in the world, I ask the media and I also ask the democratic governments in the world to help the Catalan people decide its political future," he added.
Mas said he would write a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, asking him to confront the "Catalan question" by giving the region a binding referendum.
However, Spain's justice minister Rafael Catala dismissed the vote as "a sterile and useless sham" which would only exacerbate tensions between the region and Madrid.
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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