Catalan Independence Referendum Scheduled for October

Photo by Lohen11

In October of this year, Catalonia is headed back to the polls to vote on independence from Spain!

If you read our last article on the Catalonian independence movement, we covered how their provincial government had drafted a bill to give Catalan jurisdiction over a transition from Spanish rule. Now, the government in Catalonia is moving ahead with holding a referendum on independence, this October, despite any objections from Madrid.

The reaction in the Spanish capitol is as expected. According to an article from The Telegraph, Madrid would hold such a referendum to be illegal, which would be consistent with their past of quashing such attempts. They also went on to quote a Spanish government spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, about Catalonia’s latest plans for autonomy: “’This is just another strategic step that doesn’t lead anywhere.’”

The dismissive and defiant reception of Madrid to the latest Catalonian separatist effort notwithstanding, the degree to which the Spanish government might interfere with the Catalonian independence plebiscite was characterized by The Telegraph in somewhat harsher terms, saying “Under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene in the running of Catalonia’s regional government, forcing it to drop the vote. This could involve sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s authority to rule.”

If Spain chooses to introduce military or paramilitary forces into the matter, that would most likely exacerbate the already high tensions that exist between Spain and the small province. Certainly, Spain doesn’t need another Basque-style revolution on their hands. While no one is claiming that it will come to that (at least not yet), who knows what the reaction will be if Madrid sends in armed personnel to prevent the referendum or negate its results?

If Catalonia goes ahead with independence, carrying the day for the creation of a new country with the strong support of Catalonians, it is not completely certain that Madrid will actively prevent it. They may ultimately see the wisdom in not trying to force the obedience of a huge group of subjects that have consistently rejected Spanish identity and rule, wanting only a peaceful exit. Here’s hoping that clearer and wiser heads prevail in supporting a peaceful resolution.