Yesterday (Wednesday) Catalan leader Artur Mas said that the people in his region have the right to decide whether they want to break away from Spain or not. Catalan President Mas says that the planned vote on independence, scheduled for November 9, must go ahead – even though the central government in Madrid has vowed to block the referendum on constitutional grounds.
Mas, 58, who has been the region’s leader since 2010, told Reuters that he is searching for a legal loophole to allow for a non-binding vote known as a ‘popular consultation’.
Depending on the outcome, the vote could give Mas a mandate to ask the Spanish government for more power over a number of things including taxes, welfare spending, police, infrastructure and education.
However, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has argued that any format is illegal.
Catalonia, a north-eastern Spanish region with some 7 million people, has seen a surging independence movement.
Mas said: “In the end, the central government must abandon its political short-sightedness and leave Catalonia alone to hold the consultation.”
On November 9 the Catalan leader plans to ask two questions: whether Catalonia should be a separate state, and whether that state should be independent.
The vote will take place two months after Scotland’s independence vote. However, while Scotland’s vote is legal and will be recognized by the UK, earlier this year Spain’s parliament blocked the referendum bid.