Financial Times – Catalonia referendum set for 2014
Catalonia will hold an independence referendum in 2014, setting the Catalan leadership firmly on a collision course with Madrid.
The agreement to go ahead with a plebiscite – formally signed and presented to the regional parliament on Thursday – is a deal struck between Artur Mas, the Catalan president and leader of the centre-right Convergència i Unió party, and the leftwing separatist group Esquerra Republicana.
The Spanish government under Mariano Rajoy, the centre-right prime minister, is not only fiercely opposed to Catalan secession, but also argues that a referendum is forbidden by Spain’s constitution.
The two Catalan parties promised to hold a “dialogue and negotiations” with Madrid over the referendum issue early next year, but indicated they were ready to hold a plebiscite even without the support of the central government.
Mr Mas hailed the deal as a “call to hope” that would ensure a “future of freedom for Catalonia”. But he also warned of the political challenges ahead: “We will have many enemies, and many of them are very powerful and act without scruples.”
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