Why do Catalans want to hold a Referendum on their future?

09.04.2013

Source: CatalansUK

banderes mésThis note aims to explain why Catalans want to vote. However, a simple list of grievances would not capture the spirit of optimism, tolerance and modernization which is at the heart of the move to independence.

For a long time, many Catalans would have been happy for Catalonia to be a region in Spain with a status similar to that of one of the Länder within Germany. But that never happened. Strong opposition within Spain means that devolution has always been half-hearted, chaotic and ineffective. And now Spain is being re-centralized and multiculturalism has been rejected.

This has led to a huge shift in public opinion in Catalonia. Many people no longer recognize Spain as the tolerant and inclusive country which they hoped would be built after Franco.  They want to hold a referendum so that they can choose their future freely, peacefully and democratically.
After 35 years trying to fit Catalonia into Spain in a politically comfortable way, there is a common feeling among most Catalan citizens that any negotiation is becoming impossible.

Public opinion in Spain seems to favour uniformity and centralization, so neither of the two main political parties are prepared to take meaningful steps to save devolution. Both now say that a referendum on Catalan independence would be unlawful. But hiding behind a law (which could easily be changed) provides no solution to the problem. Even worse, it means that finally Spain must choose between maintaining its new democratic values or holding on to Catalonia against the will of its people.