Spooked businesses shift headquarters out of Catalonia

Pro-independence supporters shout slogans in front of the Popular Party headquarters as a "esteleda" or pro-independence flag is held up, in support of the Catalonia's secession, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Alvaro Barrientos

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A member of Catalonia's separatist-led government has called for a "cease-fire" with Spain to decrease tensions after a disputed referendum on independence by the prosperous region.

Santi Vila, Catalonia's regional chief for business, told Cadena SER Radio late Friday that he's pushing for "a new opportunity for dialogue" under "a cease-fire" with Spanish authorities.

Vila says he is against Catalonia unilaterally declaring independence at this moment and wants to see a committee of experts from both sides be created to work toward a solution to the political crisis.

Separatists say they won the Oct. 1 referendum, but Spain says the vote was illegal, invalid and unconstitutional. Less than half of the electorate cast ballots in the referendum which has marred by a brutal police crackdown.

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