No, Mas: Spain rejects Catalan call for independence

PM, Mariano Rajoy, had previously warned Catalans not to follow Scotland’s example

madrid

The Spanish government has rejected a call by the country’s regional government of Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence next year.

Catalonia’s regional President, Artur Mas, announced in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, that the referendum would be set for 9 November, and would ask the region’s voters whether they want Catalonia to be a state and, if so, whether the north-eastern region should be independent from Spain.

By asking two questions, Catalonia’s coalition partners indicated they had watered down their previous calls for outright independence, unlike in Scotland, where a single question in a referendum on independence in September next year will be asked.

“Everyone who wants a change in Catalonia’s political status will be able to vote for that. And everyone who wants that change in status [wants it] to be in the form of an independent state,” Mr Mas said on state television.

According to an opinion poll conducted by the Catalan government on 22 November, 54.7 per cent of Catalans would vote for independence, down slightly from 55.6 per cent from a survey in July.

Many Catalans have urged Spain’s central government to agree to a referendum, but Madrid has threatened to appeal to the Constitutional Court, which threw out a similar attempt by the Basque Country in 2008 on the grounds that regions cannot conduct binding plebiscites.

When the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, unveiled his blueprint for independence last month, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, used the occasion to warn Catalans not to follow Scotland’s example. “I respect all British decisions but am very sure that a region which were to achieve independence would be outside the European Union,” he said.

Mr Mas, however, hoped that there would still be time to smooth over differences with Madrid by 9 November 2014, when the vote is due to be held.

“If the majority of Catalan political representatives and the people remain united, there isn’t a Spanish minister or government that can prevent the exercise of democracy,” Alfred Bosch, the parliamentary leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia in Madrid, told The Independent. The Catalan government has yet to draw up a road map to independence, though it has set up a Transition Council.

Catalans speak a distinct language and memories are fresh of its being repressed under the long dictatorship of Francisco Franco. They feel they get a raw deal on taxes from the central government, and whereas all of Spain’s 17 regions have autonomy, polls show that 70 per cent of Catalans believe they don’t have enough of it.

Although moves towards Catalan independence date back to the 1930s, support for it has grown since Spain sank into a deep economic crisis in 2008 and a massive pro-independence rally last year prompted Mr Mas to promise a vote on breaking away.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project