Catalonia's pro-independence regional Parliament voted for a secession process in Spain's wealthiest region on Monday, in a showdown with the central government in Madrid.
Last month, pro-independence parties in the region submitted a resolution to secede from the rest of the country.
Though there is no article that is legally-binding, the text calls for a separate social security system and treasury, with a vision of complete independence until 2017.
Catalonia's parliament lawmakers launched the debate at the 0900 GMT with a vote several hours later on Monday. It reported that the motion was passed by 72 votes to 63.
The initiative defies Spain's central government, which considers it unconstitutional.
Also last week, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said "If on Monday (the resolution) is approved... we will immediately go to court."
Despite some of the opposition parties attempting to halt the election, Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the vote could proceed.
But the Spanish constitution does not allow any region to break away and the centre-right government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly dismissed the Catalan campaign out of hand.
Last month, the pro-independence parties gained a majority of seats in the 135-seat Catalan parliament in Barcelona, winning 75 seats, for the very first time during its regional parliamentary elections.