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A pro-independence supporter raises up a placard in front of the Catalonian regional Parliament in Barcelona, Spain, September 6, 2017. The placard reads "Mussolini, Hitler and Franco would have voted no to the referendum, and you?". REUTERS/Albert Gea


MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's government has asked the Spanish constitutional court to declare void a referendum law that Catalonia's separatist government is expected to pass later on Wednesday, Spain's deputy prime minister said.

Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had asked the court to challenge the law, which will approve a referendum on Catalan independence on Oct. 1, since the law goes against previous rulings.

"What is happening in the Catalan parliament is embarrassing, it's shameful," Saenz de Santamaria told reporters in Madrid.

Catalan lawmakers are due to vote on laws approving the referendum and the legal framework to set up an independent state. The laws will likely be approved because pro-independence parties have a majority in the regional parliament.

(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Jesus Aguado)

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