Why Catalans Are So Determined to Hold a Referendum

Why Catalans Are So Determined to Hold a Referendum
Why Catalans Are So Determined to Hold a Referendum

Bad blood between the Catalans and Spaniards goes back centuries, but one only has to go back to 2010 to understand the current crisis, I write in the Diplomatic Courier.

That year, Spain’s Constitutional Court threw out the region’s autonomy statute. Adding insult to injury, it argued Catalonia’s description as a “nation” had no legal standing.

It was a turning point. Before, only one in five Catalans wanted their own state. That rose to over 50 percent in the following years.

Support for independence is now hovering north of 40 percent — when Catalans are given only two options. When becoming a federal state inside Spain is added as an alternative, support for independence falls to 35 percent and only 30 percent would still pick the status quo.

Whatever their views on independence, 80 percent of Catalans want a referendum.

These numbers point to a solution: A new autonomy statute, negotiated in good faith between the governments in Barcelona and Madrid, put to Catalan voters in a referendum. That way, secession is taken off the table but the Catalans get to have their say.

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