Independence Near for Catalonia

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by franklyfrancophone

Here is the result of the Catalan general election which took place on Sunday: Catalonia 1 Spain 0.

Here it is in more detail:

The party which gained most seats, the moderate right-of-centre Convergence and Union (CiU), led by Artur Mas (62 seats), is just 6 seats short of an overall majority, but it is expected that it will be able to form an administration on its own, relying on a case-by-case basis for support from other parties. On constitutional issues there is a strong nationalist/independentist overall majority, including the pro-referendum left-of-centre republican independentist ERC, led by Joan Puigcercòs (10 seats) and the pro-UDI Catalan Solidarity for Independence (SI), led by Joan Laporta (4 seats).

As the grand old man of the CiU, Jordi Pujol, has been explaining to the international media since the election, relations between Madrid and Barcelona have just about come to the end of the road. In general terms the relationship has been as follows: Spain requires Catalans’ support in one form or another. In return it agrees to cede powers to the Generalitat, the government of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Not having been genuinely eager to cede these powers, it later tries to claw them back.

The last time this happened, when the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled against important elements of the statute of autonomy of 2006 that had been approved by the Catalan and Spanish legislatures and in a Catalan referendum, over a million people protested in the streets of Barcelona, in July of this year. They said no to the Spanish no and asserted the national identity that the Spanish court had declared that they were not constitutionally entitled to: “We are a nation!” they retorted. “We decide!”

What is to happen now? Mr Mas, an economist (like First Minister Salmond of Scotland), who expresses his intentions in French and English as well as Catalan and Spanish, has declared that Catalonia must have complete control over taxation, a claim for which he appears to have considerable popular support, and indeed a mandate. He has stated that he will endeavour to negotiate with the Spanish government with a view to obtaining full fiscal autonomy and a reformed economic relationship with Spain. What happens if/when Spain says no again?

In those circumstances, bearing in mind Mr Pujol’s view that relations between Madrid and Barcelona have just about come to the end of the road, it would appear logical to expect Mr Mas to hold a referendum on independence, for which he should be able to command a majority in the Catalan Parliament, and in those circumstances it is not inconceivable that a majority of voters would opt for independence, which is what Mr Mas said in the course of the election campaign that he personally would do.

If such a turn of events were to eventuate, will historians one day, in looking back at the Catalan general election of 2010, judge it to have been a catalyst for constitutional upheaval in more than one sub-state nation in Europe? If Catalan independence comes, can Scottish independence be far behind?

Courtesy of http://franklyfrancophone.wordpress.com/