Edited time: December 13, 2013 13:48
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.
Catalonia sets date for independence referendum, but Madrid vows to block it
- theguardian.com, Thursday 12 December 2013 10.22 EST
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.