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Devolution Watch
Spain Talks Tough as Catalonia Independence Vote Approaches

The strain on Spain is not yet on the wane: an election this Sunday in Catalonia could push the region towards independence from the Madrid. The WSJ reports:

Together for Yes, a slate of legislative candidates who pledge to make Catalonia a new European nation within 18 months, leads in the polls, though falling just short of an absolute majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament. Secessionists could obtain that majority with support of the Popular Unity Candidacy or CUP, a radical left pro-independence party, but the two factions differ over how strong a popular mandate would be needed to move toward independence.

The national government in Madrid and Catalan unionists are placing their hopes on a high turnout from what they see as a silent majority favoring the status quo.

Last year the pro-independence movement in Catalonia experienced a setback when the country’s Constitutional Court declared a referendum held in November to be unconstitutional. The Spanish executive likewise has been steadfastly opposed to any referendum, rejecting the region’s right to hold any such vote. The upcoming elections are functioning, therefore, as a plebiscite on the independence question, with a victory for pro-secession candidates giving the local government a mandate to press ahead.

Even a responding victory for Together for Yes and CUP, however, isn’t likely to convince Madrid to step aside. The region is one of the wealthiest in Spain, and the government has threatened Catalonia with a bevy of consequences if it breaks away from the country, including lost Spanish and EU citizenship, and the exclusion of Barcelona from the Spanish soccer league La Liga.

A victory for the secessionists could lead to a public, aggressive, and high-stakes showdown with Madrid, with uncertain results. Interesting times on the European continent.

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  • Fat_Man

    Scots won’t vote for independence because they are afraid of being put off the dole. Catalonia sends more money to Madrid than it gets back.

    • dawnsblood

      The Scots will vote for independence eventually for two reasons:
      1) The political elite in Scotland are convinced they can build the perfect socialist utopia. They are certain they can do it because everyone else that has failed until now obviously ‘did it wrong’.
      2) They will keep voting until independence succeeds because that is what the political elite want. They will not allow another vote after that until the entire enterprise falls apart.

      I think it is inevitable the vote will come. Sadly the Scottish elite doesn’t seem to realize the North Sea oil isn’t as rich as they think it is anymore and will not last forever regardless.The question is whether the UK will take them back when relatively poor Scotland (compared to England) becomes a basket case.

      • Fat_Man

        Oil didn’t help Venezuela’s drive to socialism.

        • dawnsblood

          I totally agree that it didn’t but that doesn’t change the perception some people have. When I was watching the coverage before the first vote, the SNP folk were like broken records. How do propose to pay for X? We will make the thieving English give us the North Sea oil and use that to pay for it. It isn’t true but that doesn’t change how they think things work.

          • Fat_Man

            It is their problem.

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