Spain Rejects Call for Catalonia Independence Vote

Seeking a vote to secede from Spain

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The president of the regional government in Catalonia said Thursday that a deal had been reached to hold a referendum on becoming an independent country next year, but his comments were immediately rejected by Spain.

Artur Mas said said a deal reached among pro-independence groups would allow for a referendum in November asking voters if they want Catalonia a country independent from Spain. But it was quickly shot down. “The poll will not be held, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told reporters soon after Mas publicized the agreement, BBC reports.

The Spanish constitution mandates that only the central government in Madrid can call for a referendum. Even as the economic crisis has fueled nationalism across Catalonia, polls show its 7.5 million people are evenly split on the issue.

(MORE:Why Catalonia Isn’t Likely to Leave Spain Anytime Soon)

Mas has been pushing for a referendum since last year, after he failed to secure a better financial deal between Madrid and Catalonia, one of Spain’s most powerful regions that represents about one-fifth of its $1.5 trillion gross domestic product. NATO and the European Union have both warned Catalonia it would be excluded from those blocs if it secedes.

Each of the 17 regions in Spain enjoy a significant degree of autonomy, but have no control over ports and airports, foreign affairs, defense and any economic or financial decisions on a national scale.

[AP] [BBC]

6 comments
miquelg
miquelg

Believing this is just a matter of money is grossly understating what has been going on in the last years: Catalan language and culture have been bitterly rejected and attacked by Spanish parties and institutions (judiciary, legislative and executive) and the two main political parties. Main Spanish mass media are really bent on creating an unfavourable image of catalans and Catalonia: we have been derided as misers, intolerant nazis, insolidary, tight-fisted, arrogant... you name it. To the point that most people here believe independence is the only way, because the other option- assimilation- would simply do away with our culture, one of the oldest in Europe. 


Catalan is an inclusive nationalism: we react to attacks, never on our own or out of the will to impose our view. 


The proof to that is that the population of Catalonia doubled in the fifties through massive immigration from other parts of Spain and it is the sons and daughters of these people who are now also calling for independence. We are just asking the right to have our say, not even deciding for independence, but doing something as democratic as holding a referendum: something which swiss do every week and many other peoples in the world exert every day. To be fair, if a referendum were held today, probably most people would vote to continue in Spain, but each and every day they are pushing us more towards separation. The proof of that is also that according to polls, about 57% of people across all ages are for independence


As to the possible consequences of independence with relationship to EU or NATO membership, it is said that countries have interests, not allegiances. Can anyone tell me why Europe would want to renounce one of its most dynamic and rich regions and continue with Spain, which is actually a net receptor of help from the EU  ? (whereas Catalonia is a net contributor in terms of taxes). Would the NATO be willing to renounce a great deal of the Mediterranean flank ? Not to forget that if Catalonia is out of the EU, so should be Spain, since it is not the same country that joined the EU any more.

davidllovi
davidllovi

The report written above is clearly biased towards Spanish point of view. Catalans have been struggling for many years to fit in Spain. Hopelessly, as anyone can see: our last attempt to change our laws was dismissed by the Spanish government and also their court (some of their members were seen enjoying watching corridas a few days before, just to show you the people we have to deal with). Our financial system is designed to flow about 8% of our taxes to Spain, never to come back. Also, our language has never been assumed as something belonging the Spanish culture.

So we thought it would be a good time for a fresh start. No more complains about Spain, but a single goal: to be responsible for our future. With this idea, last September 1'6 milion people demonstrated to ask for a referendum. And there was not a single violent incident whatsover. This is about 1/5 of the population of Catalonia who were demonstrating. Would you imagine the same percentage, say in England?

We claim for democracy, we want to vote. And the main argument not to let us vote is that it is ilegal. How can a votation be ilegal? How can Spanish polititians ignore us so deeptly, with such an arrogance? Maybe the answer is, sadly, the low level of democracy in Spain. Also, of course all economic powers will fight to keep their privileges.

Yesterday President Mas (whom I didn't vote by the way) and the political parties simply agreed on the way to write down what we people vote. It was not Mas who promoted the independence movement, but actually the way round: we made Mas to go for independence. 

So it is the time for hope. We will vote, and if we win, we will be a normal country. All we ask Europe is to be fair, and let democracy speak.

KoltonMitchell
KoltonMitchell

That's pretty messed up. Why do Spaniards think they can keep the Catalonians under there thumb?

Luigi68
Luigi68

@miquelg Everything you say about Spain and his democracy is a absolut LIE!!! You, radical sececionist mock and  attack the rest of spanish people and take advantage of our tolerance to divide us...

Luigi68
Luigi68

@davidllovi Secesion is not a right and has nothing to do with democracy; all of this is just propaganda (How dare you to say that we have a low level democracy? do you think that the rest of the world is blind or deaf?). Spain is a five century old country, and in spite of the crisis, radicals and blackmailres we will get along...

Luigi68
Luigi68

@KoltonMitchell catalán sececionist propaganda!!! Open your eyes and travel a litle bit around Spain...