September 14, 2017

Should Catalonia be independent from Spain?

Catalan politicians push for a referendum as the central government stands in their way.

In the latest twist in a high stakes confrontation between Spain's central government and its prosperous Catalonia region, the government has summoned more than 700 Catalan mayors it says are supporting an attempt to hold an independence referendum. Authorities are seizing ballot boxes and searching print shops accused of producing political material.  

Catalonia’s regional government passed a law on September 6th paving the way for an independence vote on October 1st. Spain’s constitutional court, though, swiftly struck it down and called it illegal. Catalan leaders say they will go ahead anyway.

Spain has been here before. In 2014, another planned referendum was scuttled by Madrid, although a symbolic vote went ahead. Though more than 80 percent voted for secession, turnout was low, and opinion polls show Catalans almost equally divided on the question.

Afterwards, politicians involved in planning that poll were charged, fined and barred from holding public office.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Alfred Bosch @AlfredBosch
Leader, Pro-independence Opposition Party

Enric Martinez @EnricMz
Member, Catalans Por la Ley (Catalans for Law and Sanity)

Sonia Andolz @SoniaAndolz
Lecturer, University of Barcelona

Should Catalonia be able to vote on independence from Spain? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.