Published time: December 13, 2013 09:35
Edited time: December 13, 2013 13:48

 

Head of the Catalunyan regional government Artur Mas (C) stands during a press conference on December 12, 2013 in Barcelona announcing that political parties in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on independence for the northeastern Spanish region on November 9, 2014 (AFP Photo / STR)

Head of the Catalunyan regional government Artur Mas (C) stands during a press conference on December 12, 2013 in Barcelona announcing that political parties in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on independence for the northeastern Spanish region on November 9, 2014 (AFP Photo / STR)

 

The Catalan regional parliament has set November next year for a referendum on the Spanish province’s independence. The government in Madrid blandly said the vote won’t happen, but activists wonder how it might be stopped.

Catalonia’s four pro-independence parties, which hold a majority in the regional parliament, announced Thursday that the rich industrial Spanish province will hold a referendum on whether to gain greater autonomy or even total independence from the country’s central government.

The vote’s preliminary date is November 9, Catalan regional government head Artur Mas said. The people will be asked two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and “Do you want that state to be independent?”

The former question was added for those Catalans who seek to change Spain into a federation, with Catalonia forming part of it. According to a Metroscopia poll in newspaper El Pais last month, 46 percent of Catalans favor separatism versus 42 percent who wish to remain within Spain. The support for greater autonomy, however, is very strong.

Just minutes after the announcement Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon rejected the idea, saying it would be unconstitutional.

“The vote will not be held,” he said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke out later in the day, saying his government will not allow the Catalan referendum to happen.

 

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Catalonia sets date for independence referendum, but Madrid vows to block it

Catalan parties agree wording of proposed November 2014 referendum but Spanish government says it will not allow vote
Artur Mas

Artur Mas announceas that political parties in Catalonia have agreed to hold a referendum on independence next November. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Separatist parties in Spain‘s north-eastern Catalonia region on Thursday agreed the wording of an independence referendum proposed for November 2014 but the Spanish government immediately said the vote was illegal and would not happen.

The Catalan regional government head, Artur Mas, said the vote would ask two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and: “Do you want that state to be independent?”

Spain’s justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, immediately said the vote could not take place because the constitution would not allow it.

 

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