Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Catalonia announces independence referendum

Catalan nationalists to call for independence vote on 1 October Catalonia steps up separatist challenge with Oct. 1 vote
Vera Richards | 10 June, 2017, 04:50

The Spanish government will block any attempt to further an independence process in Catalonia, spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said, after the head of the northeastern region called a referendum on secession on October 1.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said that voters in the unilateral referendum would be asked the question: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?"

On Thursday, ahead of Mr Puigdemont's statement, deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said: "They can announce that they are going to hold this referendum as many times as they like and postpone it as many weeks as they like and organise as many events as they like, but that referendum is not going to take place".

This is published unedited from the IANS feed. Madrid argues that the Spanish constitution leaves no room for regional secession votes, let alone for secession itself. Several Catalan politicians, including former regional president Artur Mas, have been fined or barred from public office for holding a mock referendum in November 2014.

Although Catalans are divided on whether to split from Spain - with 48.5 percent against independence and 44.3 percent in favor, according to a recent poll by the regional government - nearly three-quarters of respondents supported holding a referendum on the issue.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's cabinet has repeatedly vowed to prevent the ballot by all means necessary. This move would create another showdown with the central government, which sees the vote as illegal, reports said.

Puigdemont's announcement came after multiple failed attempts to agree on a referendum date with the Madrid government.

That vote was organised by volunteers rather than government officials to get around court restrictions.

In February, the Constitutional Court ruled against the planned referendum and warned Catalan leaders they faced repercussions if they continued with their project. The referendum could force them to choose between obeying their immediate supervisors, and facing consequences for disobeying Spanish law, or sticking with the Spanish Constitution.

He told Radio Catalunya that the region needed the opportunity to decide its own future, adding: "We're just asking that people be allowed to vote for a better life".

There is a widespread feeling among the people of Catalonia the central government takes much more than it gives back, the BBC reported. Catalonia's regional government announced that his pro-independence government will make a refer.

"My perception is that Puigdemont will not be able to hold a referendum that adjusts to the general consensus, with the guaranties of impartiality", Arbos said. Catalan parliamentarians, the majority of whom are in favor of independence, are expecting to set the legislative groundwork this summer.

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