Free Catalonia? Less than half a year after the Scottish campaign, another European region is trying to break away from its mother country. Facing Madrid’s resistance to a plebiscite, the Catalonians are trying to turn their local elections into a de facto referendum. As The Financial Times reports, that will make it one of three important elections this year for Spain:
Local and regional elections in May will give voters a first chance to vent their fury at Spain’s discredited political establishment, and could usher in a shift in power in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.
The next ballot will be on September 27 in Catalonia, where political leaders hope that an across-the-board triumph for pro-independence parties will bolster the case for a break with Spain.Spanish voters will finally elect a new parliament and government at the end of the year, in a contest shaped by the recent economic crisis and rising popular anger over political corruption.
The potential fracturing of states into smaller parts always puts a wrinkle or two into EU plans—even as the security blanket of the pan-European structure makes independence a more and more attractive option to historically distinct components of Europe’s nation-states. As Europe heads into its “Year of Elections,” its secessionist movements could make a precarious political moment more volatile still.