Weeks after Scotland failed to vote for independence from the United Kingdom, another self-ruling region is now seeking to split from a European country. This time it’s the region of Catalonia in Spain. While Scotland’s vote proceeded with the blessing of the British government, Spain’s vote promises to be more fractious.
Here are a few things about the vote:
1. Catalonia is a rich autonomous region in Spain’s north-east, on the border with France. Its inhabitants, called Catalans, number 7.5 Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 EST - Details) million. Its capital is Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain.
2. With a distinct language and culture, many Catalans have long complained they get a raw deal from the government in Madrid, which decides how their taxes are spent.
3. Fired up by September’s independence referendum in Scotland, the Catalan government said on Oct 6 that it would decide by Oct 15 whether to push ahead with a referendum on separation from the rest of Spain. Homage to Catalonia Best Price: $1.36 Buy New $25.95 (as of 03:00 EST - Details)
4. The referendum is set for Nov 9.
5. Catalonia’s 193 billion euro (S$311 billion) economy is almost exactly the same size as Scotland’s. Scotland, though, makes up less than 10 per cent of Britain’s economy, while Catalonia represents about twice that proportion for Spain.
6. A pro-independence group, the Catalan National Assembly, led hundreds of thousands of people in a march through Barcelona on 3x5 Catalonia Spain Fl... Best Price: null Buy New $1.56 (as of 10:55 EST - Details) Sept 11, Catalonia’s national day, to demand the right to vote on independence.
7. Spain’s central government says the referendum is unconstitutional, and has vowed to block the vote. The legislation allowing it has been suspended by the Constitutional Court.
8. Only 29 per cent of Catalans want full independence from Spain, according to a poll published on Oct 5 in the national newspaper El Pais.
Bonus point for football fans: Barcelona Football Club, one of the powerhouses of European football, will not be able to play in La Liga, the Spanish Football League, if Catalonia breaks away from Spain, said league chief Javier Tebas. This would mean the next “Clasico” on Oct 25 between the club and rivals Real Madrid, a key match between the two giants dominating the league, may likely be the last.
Reprinted from The Straits Times.