My attempt here is to briefly sum up what happened this past weekend here in Catalunya for those who are not too familiar with the story. I highlighted some important historical information in a past post, pre-September 11th demonstration that highlights part of the reason we are here today.
For starters, this past Sunday, November 9th, was not a referendum like what took place in Scotland earlier this year. That was sanctioned by England. The voting that took place here was far from approved by the national Spanish government. What was labeled a “consulta” can be described as a voluntary voicing of opinion as to what should be done in regards to the future of Catalunya. Kind of complicated, huh? Consulta sounds better. The biggest difference with Scotland is that the consulta does NOT bare any legal precedent.
So what is Catalunya hoping to get out of this? Well for one, they hope to make enough noise for an actual referendum to become a possibility.
The ballot consisted of two questions:
Do you want Catalunya to become a state? Yes or No
In the case of yes, do you wish for that state to be independent? Yes or No
Of the 5.4 million available voters (anyone with residence within the autonomous region above the age of 16), about 2,250,00 voiced their opinions. Of those voters, almost 81% elected “Sí-Sí”. EIGTHY-ONE PERCENT!!! Combine that with 10% of voters who voted “Sí-No”, over 90% want a change of status.
Now the wait has begun for the response from Madrid and president, Mariano Rajoy, who has repeatedly stated that he will not allow for a vote for independence, something that is not allowed in the constitution. Despite the paradoxical nature of that statement, something many in the Catalan press have drawn a lot of attention to, Madrid has stayed pretty hardline with their stance.
Rajoy has even been quoted as stating that the referendum would never be held while he was in office. In all fairness to his quote, the original plan of a referendum was scraped for the volunteer-based vote that was held Sunday. Rajoy does not need to step down. A response to the strikingly high votes for independence will have to come in the next coming days, stay tuned…