Last Sunday Catalan voters have decided that they want to have their own independence. Here is exactly what happened in Spain since then.
The role of the police in the Catalan referendum
As many people might have seen, since the internet is filled with pictures taken in Catalonia where police officers are fighting with the young Catalan voters, it is important to point out that the police was not acting on the orders of the central government but that of the judiciary. The police was actually trying to prevent the independence referendum in the first place, because it was thought that such referendum would be violating the Constitution. How so? The Spanish Constitution does not recognize the right of an autonomous region to take a unilateral decision to break away.
Why lead for the referendum to occur?
The referendum was in the making for many years. Not only it could not happen because of the law, many expressed their fears that a ‘yes’ vote would be unfair towards the people who felt Spanish. What is more, it has been established that 35% Catalans do feel Spanish. On several occasions, the independence activists have tried to hold a negotiated referendum such as in Scotland and Quebec. However, the dominant political parties in Spain have said no.
The center-right Popular Party, argues that a referendum on self-determination is illegal, among other things because Catalonia already is almost totally self-governing as it is. It is not widely known amongst many people the Catalans already manage their own prison system, police force, education and even health. However, the tax collection is collected by the treasury and redistributed by the central government. Nonetheless, Catalonia is one of the most autonomous regions in Europe.
What will happen now?
People are of different opinions about the referendum. The other main Spanish party, the Socialist Party claims, that the referendum is not valid. In order to become valid the referendum should involve all of Spain, not just the Catalonia region. But what will happen next? If Catalonia actually becomes independent, then in the future Spain as we know it now would not exist anymore. Why? Because regions like Galicia are most likely to follow Catalonia in it’s steps in declaring independence as the region already is known for it’s strong nationalist movements.