Catalan independence vote October 1: Why? What’s at stake? What do the polls suggest?

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Unless the central government in Madrid forcibly stops elections, the Catalan Independence Vote will take place on October 1.

Politico covers What Spain has to Lose from Catalan Independence.

Catalonia Percent of Spain

Voting Intentions

Poll Source in Spanish: Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió (CEO) June 2017

2015 Advisory Voting Map

Why?

Please consider Why some Catalans want to break away from Spain.

Research from CEO (above link), as translated by Politico

  • Increased autonomy (26 percent)
  • Belief that Catalonia would improve if it struck out on its own (23 percent)
  • Desire for a new model for running a country (19 percent)

“I want a fair country, a more social and leftist country, and I believe the best way to achieve that is leaving Spain,” said Marc Becat, a 22-year-old who works in sales.

“All the money and all the taxes that flow to the Spanish government will stay in [an independent] Catalonia,” said Ana Martí Benavente, a 78-year-old Barcelona pensioner.

“It’s the Popular Party above all things, I hate them, that’s it,” said Alex Fores, a 21-year-old engineering student. “They’re very right-wing and obviously if you look at what people vote here [in Catalonia] it’s a completely different ideology.”

“What we Catalans find surprising is how the international community doesn’t react to the fact that we’re being prevented from voting” — Marta Alsina, teacher.

March in Barcelona

Pro-Independence Flag Face

Spain Threatens to Arrest Mayors in Favour of Vote

The Express reports Spain Threatens to Arrest Mayors in Favour of Vote.

Aljazeera reports Spain Summons Catalan Mayors Over Independence Vote.

Spain’s state prosecutor has ordered a criminal probe of all 700-plus Catalan mayors who have backed an independence referendum, as Madrid seeks to block the separatist vote it deems illegal.

The country’s prosecutor office on Wednesday ordered the 712 mayors, who have agreed to help stage the October 1 vote, to be summoned to court as official suspects and called for their arrest in case of a refusal to appear for questioning.

Barcelona Mayor Ana Colau, who opposes secession but supports a vote, says she wants to help arrange the referendum but won’t do so without assurances that she and her staff would be acting legally.

Spain’s King Felipe VI also entered the fray on Wednesday, stepping up the pressure on Catalonia by vowing that the Spanish constitution “will prevail” over any attempt to break the country apart.

In his first comments on the growing political crisis, Felipe said the rights of all Spaniards will be upheld against “whoever steps outside constitutional and statutory law.”

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona this week to show support for independence.

Opinion polls show that Catalans are evenly divided on independence, but over 70 percent want a referendum to take place to settle the matter.

One Million March

The Guardian reports One Million Catalans March for Independence on Region’s National Day

Up to a million Catalans have gathered in Barcelona to call for independence less than three weeks before the region is due to hold a vote on whether to break away from Spain.

For the sixth successive year, Catalonia’s national day – La Diada de Catalunya – was used as a political rally by the pro-independence movement. Organisers said 450,000 people had registered for the event, and Barcelona police later tweeted that 1 million turned up.

Polls also show that Catalans are divided on whether they wish to secede from Spain. A survey at the end of July found that 49.4% of Catalans were against independence and 41.1% supported it.

Raül Romeva, the Catalan foreign affairs minister, told reporters that the referendum had already begun, with expatriate Catalans voting by post.

“You need to remember that people are already voting,” he said. “The Catalan community abroad is already voting. Those people who say there’ll be no referendum forget that the referendum is already under way.”

Ballot Papers to Be Seized

The BBC reports Ballot Papers for Banned Referendum to be Seized.

Catalonia’s public prosecutor has ordered the seizure of all ballot papers ahead of a banned independence referendum deemed illegal. The vote on breaking away from Spain, planned for 1 October, has been suspended by the constitutional court.

But Catalonia’s pro-independence government says it will still go ahead. As a result, the Public Prosecutor’s Office instructed security forces to take everything which could help with the “consummation of the crime”.

The order came as Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal came out strongly against the plans. “You can’t skip the laws because you want to skip them,” Nadal told a paper.

Rajoy’s Political Mistakes

Prime minister Rajoy is telling Catalonians not to vote because it is illegal.

I strongly suspect the people most likely to stay away from the polls on that message are those who do not favor independence.

Rajoy also made mistakes leading up to the current referendum.

In 2006, with agreement from the Spanish Parliament and approved by a majority in a referendum a statute on Catalonia was approved.

In 2010, Rajoy asked the constitutional court to overturn the law. It did. 14 articles were abolished and 27 will be reinterpreted governing Language, judiciary, taxes and self-recognition as a ‘nation’.

This inflamed Catalonia and rightly so.

In Favor of an Independent Catalonia

I am in favor of an independent Catalonia if that is how the citizens vote.

I seem to recall how citizens of one country decided to skip the law because they did not like it. The protest worked out pretty well.

I am talking of course about the Boston Tea Party and subsequent US independence from Britain via the American Revolution.

What’s Spain going to do to stop the referendum? Send in the troops?

 

 

Mike “Mish” Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. He also writes a column for Townhall.com/finance. Article published at his blog.

 

 

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