The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region on Friday declared an independence referendum for October 1, in insolence of Madrid, which is strictly against such a vote. Notably, a separatist movement is in full swing in Catalonia. Carles Puigdemont while speaking in Barcelona said that, the focus of the referendum would be – “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?”
Catalonia, a rich region with 7.5 million strong population and its own language and customs, has been long demanding the independence. Separatist from northeastern region have tried to win consent from Spain’s central government for a vote, similar to Scotland’s 2014 referendum, for years.
But, on the other hand, Catalans are divided on the issue. While 48.5 per cent are against independence, 44.3 per cent are in favor as per the latest poll by the regional government.
Catalan establishment have frequently been disappointed in their attempts to hold such a vote. It had been told that such practice are against the constitution and would threaten the harmony of Spain.
Catalonia held a non-binding vote during the rule of then president Artur Mas in 2014. Over 80 per cent of those who cast the vote chose independence. However, just 2.3 million out of 6.3 million entitled voters participated.
But, the symbolic referendum was held against Spain’s Constitutional Court that had banned the vote. Puigdemont wants his referendum to be binding this time, even though Madrid is in no mood to compromise with its decision.