The referendum that isn’t: Catalonia’s gambit


There will be queues and ballot boxes, or receptacles resembling them. And more than 1m people may turn out to back independence. But this is not Scotland: the main upshot of Sunday’s mock referendum in Catalonia, a wealthy Spanish region, may be complaints that residents can’t participate in a real one. The central authorities in Madrid, which opposes a vote, and regional leaders in Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, are playing brinkmanship. Courts have blocked attempts by Artur Mas, the Catalan president, to hold an official poll. Police may act if public buildings are used, but not if Mr Mas cedes organisation of the event to civil-society volunteers. The exercise will gauge separatist sentiment, which surveys suggest is running at around 50%. It will also serve as a warm-up for forthcoming regional elections, which Mr Mas wants to turn into a de facto plebiscite on independence. Sunday is just a start.

Read @ The Economist

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