Spain’s constitution does not allow any region to break away, so the prospect of a breakaway remains highly hypothetical.
Supporters of secessionist group Junts Pel Si celebrate after polls closed in a regional parliamentary election in Barcelona that saw separatists win a clear majority of seats in Catalonia’s parliament.
“We have won. Catalans have voted Yes to independence“. It has for centuries treasured its own language and culture, but during the 1939-1975 military dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, the Catalan language was banned in spoken and written forms.
The SNP’s landslide win in the 2011 Holyrood elections was accepted as a mandate for a Scottish independence referendum by the Westminster government, which temporarily handed Holyrood the constitutional power to hold a legally-binding vote on September 18 a year ago. Sentiment towards independence grew during Spain’s near economic meltdown during the financial crisis. However, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in July that Catalonia would not be granted independence no matter what the result of the elections.
Rajoy’s center-right government had repeatedly blocked the Catalan referendum on secession in court, adding that plans for independence are “nonsense.”
He insisted the vote gave them a mandate to proceed with the independence drive and that they would work with CUP “to carry out the road map” and to put in place the structures in time for “the legal disconnection” with Spain.
Still, Catalonia leader Artur Mas claimed victory as a jubilant crowd interrupted him with cheers and chants of “Independence!” He has promised to deliver independence for the region by 2017, although the CUP is known to be seeking a shorter timeframe.
But anti-secession parties say the pro-independence movement won just 48 percent of the popular vote.
As the separatists celebrated in Barcelona to disco music and cries of “Independence!” rivals lined up to seize the initiative from the ruling Popular Party (PP) which took a battering in the vote, losing eight of its seats.
With 64 percent of the votes counted, the “Yes” bloc had 62 seats and CUP had 10. In Tarragona and Barcelona however, pro-independence parties managed only 49 and 44 percent of the vote respectively. Critics, however, said the result showed secessionist forces failed to gain legitimacy for their effort and demanded Mas’ resignation.
“I think Scotland has given the world an example of how to make these big decisions in absolutely the right way”. Also, amid a visit to the United States by King Felipe of Spain not long ago, President Obama said the United States was “profoundly dedicated to keeping up an association with an in number and brought together Spain“.
Separatists from Quebec are applauding this weekend’s election in Catalonia. “The pretentions of some were and remain outside of the law, and now it has been shown that they don’t have the support of the majority of people”.