Catalonia’s Secession from Spain: What You Need To Know

It’s one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, located in the country’s northeast and it is home to 7.5 million people. Catalonia accounts for almost one-fifth of Spain’s output, the equivalent of Portugal’s economy, and has spearheaded Spain’s economic development since the Industrial Revolution. However, the quest for secession has not been a bed of roses for the young state, and neither did the movement start the other day.

Catalan independence movement is a popular political movement that has been seeking the independence of Catalonia from Spain, the movement began in 1922, and in 1931 it dramatically won in the Municipal elections of that year.

The modern independence movement started in 2006 when the Spanish High Court of Justice challenged the “statute of autonomy” which was passed by a referendum in Catalonia, which the Spanish government had also agreed to. The court ruled that sections of the article was unconstitutional. This sparked popular protest in Catalonia demanding for independence.

Series of Referendums

Between 2009 and 2011, series of referendums were held with majority voting “yes” for independence from Spain. 2010 also saw protests against the High Court’s decision to declare their secession calls unconstitutional. It was only after their second mass protest on 11th September in 2012 (the National day of Catalonia) that the Spanish parliament adopted the Catalan Sovereignty Declaration in early 2013, that affirmed the people of Catalonia the right to decide their own political future.

The Referendum was held on Sunday 1st October 2017 and faced a lot of frustration from the central government through its police force that violently cracked down on protesters in the city of Barcelona. Catalan government said 2.26 million people had cast ballots, a turnout of about 42 per cent, and, according to regional officials, voted 90 per cent in favor of secession. “On this day of hope and suffering, Catalonia’s citizens have earned the right to have an independent state in the form of a republic,” Puigdemont said in a televised address.

Catalan officials say more than 800 people were injured in clashes with Spanish riot police during the referendum. This has pitched the country into its deepest constitutional crisis in decades and deepened a rift between Madrid and Barcelona.Catalonia’s government will hold a closed-door Cabinet meeting to discuss the next steps in its plan to declare independence from Spain following a disputed referendum marred by violence. Regional officials say the vote, which Spain insists is illegal and invalid, shows that a majority favor secession.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will chair Monday’s meeting that is expected to consider asking the regional parliament to vote on an independence declaration later on this week. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy  meets with ruling party leaders before seeking a parliamentary session to discuss how to tackle the country’s most serious crisis in years.

FC Barcelona and Gerard Pique.

The top la liga side was forced to play in an empty camp nou in their home fixture against Las Palmas. This is after concerns of fan trouble because the referendum was held on the same day as their la liga fixture. Spanish football authorities had refused request from Fc Barcelona to postpone the fixture even after citing genuine reasons. They won 3 goals to nil in the Sunday evening fixture against las Palmas UD.

Catalonia Seccession

Gerard Pique (Left) plays against Las Palmas after casting his vote

Piqué, having been pictured casting his vote in the election earlier in the day, played the full match against Las Palmas before speaking to reporters about the decision to go ahead with the fixture, his international future and Sunday’s events in the region. He said: “I honestly think I can join up with the national team because I’m convinced there are thousands of people who totally disagree with what has happened. “I also say that, if the coach or anyone from the Federation thinks I’m a problem or a nuisance, then I will step aside and leave the national team before 2018.”

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