A large majority of voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia have chosen greater autonomy from Madrid.

With almost all the votes counted, results show that 74 per cent of voters favored giving the wealthy northeast Mediterranean region greater control over raising taxes and judicial affairs. Twenty one percent voted "no."

Turnout for Sunday's referendum was 48 percent.

A "yes" vote will be seen as a victory for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who favors greater autonomy for Catalonia, which includes Barcelona.

Critics of the move say greater autonomy for Catalonia could lead other regions in Spain to seek to distance themselves from Madrid, weakening the central government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.