LSE – Calls for independence in Catalonia

Calls for independence in Catalonia are part of an evolution of Spain’s democracy that the country’s constitution may have to come to accommodate.

Elections are due to be held in Catalonia in November, with President Artur Mas also promising to hold a referendum on Catalan self-determination. Montserrat Guibernau assesses the prospects for the referendum, noting that the Spanish constitution currently prevents any direct vote on the issue. Despite this, she asks whether the EU could ignore the results of such a referendum given its commitment to promoting democracy in Europe.

Artur Mas, president of Catalonia, has called an early election for November 25th and promised to hold a referendum on self-determination. His initiative is a response to last month’s 1.5 million strong peaceful demonstration on the streets of Barcelona calling for independence. Citizens are profoundly dissatisfied with the way in which they are being treated by Spain; they resent long-lasting limitations to Catalan demands for greater political autonomy allowing them to redress the accumulating annual deficit of 8 per cent of Catalan GDP due to the financial arrangement imposed by the Spanish state. They also lament the lack of recognition of Catalonia as a nation within Spain. Cultural and identity issues feature strongly among their demands.

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