- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MADRID (AP) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he is confident his government can handle any possible foreign tampering of upcoming elections in Catalonia amid a secession bid by the prosperous region.

On Monday, Spain’s Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal said in recent months, “many actions” to mount a misinformation campaign to destabilize Catalonia had “come from Russian territory.” She said that Spain had no indication that Russia’s government was involved.

Responding to a question in Parliament Wednesday on Spain’s preparedness, Rajoy said “people will vote with complete liberty.”

Rajoy used extraordinary powers to call early elections in Catalonia for Dec. 21 as part of an effort to derail a push by separatists to create a new Catalan state.

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