SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said today that a planned referendum on Catalan independence from Spain will not take place as it would be illegal.
“This referendum can’t take place, it is not legal,” he said.
“It is the entire Spanish people who have the capacity to decide what Spain is. No one can unilaterally deprive the entire Spanish people of the right to decide on their future,” he added.
Catalonia’s lawmakers last month defied outright opposition in Madrid by voting to demand the right to hold the referendum, planned for November 9.
Voters would be asked two questions:
– ‘Do you think that Catalonia should be a State, yes or no?’
– ‘If yes, do you want that State to be independent, yes or no?’
Artur Mas, the Catalan political chief, and his ruling coalition are joined by the majority of other parties in the north eastern Spanish region in calling for the vote.
The proposal has a hard battle ahead, however, as it faces opposition from Spain’s two largest national parties: the ruling conservative Popular Party, and the main opposition Socialist Party.
“Spaniards have known no other condition other than unity and we neither want, nor should we, break it,” said Mr Rajoy.
Many Catalonians are looking to the current situation in the United Kingdom as regards to Scottish independence, as a model for Spain.
Currently, the national government in Madrid is the only authority with the power to call a referendum – not any of the 17 autonomous communities.
A recent poll by the Catalonia Centre for Opinion Studies, however, showed that the majority of Catalonia’s 7.5million population want independence from Spain.