The Spanish government may have the wrong approach to tackling the separatistsby Sam Edwards / September 11, 2015 / Leave a comment
Today, more than 1.5m people are expected to gather on one of Barcelona’s main avenues to celebrate the national day of Catalonia and commemorate the region’s submission to the Spanish crown 301 years earlier. This will be the latest in a series of mass protests that have driven Catalonia’s desire to secede from Spain since 2010.
A few weeks later, on 27th September, Spain’s wealthiest region and traditional industrial powerhouse will witness the most important parliamentary elections in recent history in what amounts to a de facto referendum on independence, a second best to the Scotland-style plebiscite they were denied by Madrid last year. The outcome of this, depending on who you ask, could be economic madness or the birth of a more progressive nation, based on a long-sought recognition for Catalan culture and language.
Frustrated by the central government’s persistent stonewalling of attempts for dialogue, Catalan regional President Artur Mas gambled, calling snap regional elections in a bid to force the issue. By allying his center-right Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) party to its longtime rivals, the left-wing Catalan Republican Left (ERC), as well as prominent grassroots groups and several other smaller parties, Mas has sought to draw cross-party support for the region attempting to force its way out of Spain. To this end, the pact is headed up by non-affiliated figures, former European Member of Parliament Raül Romeva first among them. Though if Together for Yes succeed, few doubt Mas will be president.
Should they win, as most polls predict they will, the pro-independence coalition will immediately begin preparations for secession and aim to declare independence unilaterally as early as Spring 2016.
According to Ferran Requejo, political scientist and member of the committee tasked with advising Mas’s government on how to secede from Spain, the Advisory Council for National Transition (CATN), Catalan independence could open the door for other separatist movements.
“There is no real political precedent for a part of a democracy leaving through a vote,” he told Prospect. “This would have been the case in Scotland last year, but…