CATALUNYA’S premier Artur Mas really believes that he will receive an outstanding response to his call for independence when Catalans go to the polls on September 27 in parliamentary elections.
Mas called early elections after failing to muster the central government’s support to push for a sovereignty referendum in the northeast region.
Now he faces a big challenge in helping convince voters that the independence movement is more alive than ever, even if current polls show dwindling support.
The war of words and threats between Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Mas over the Catalan leader’s plan to carve out a unilateral breakaway proposal if his pro-sovereignty bloc wins are getting heavier.
Stopping short of calling out the troops, Rajoy has warned Mas that Catalunya will never become an independent nation. Period.
Mas continues to insist that he and his supporters have been treated unfairly by the Spanish courts, which have rejected all his proposals to hold a legally binding referendum.
He believes that the international community will take up his cause.
Like a troubled child in a kindergarten classroom, Mas has pretty much alienated just about everyone except for the few rowdies who make up his Junts pel Sí bloc, which includes the radical Catalan Republican Left (ERC).
This week, Rajoy made an unusual gesture to Catalunya by granting some €1,179 billion for its regional expenses next year.
The Catalans have always complained that they pump more money into the entire Spanish economy than the rest of the regions so they should get a bigger share of the pie.
While Catalunya isn’t set to get the most money budgeted, it will become the fourth-largest region to get the most amount of funding from the central government if Congress approves the 2016 budget figures as they were presented.
No doubt another election strategy, Rajoy’s move is intended to settle the restless independence-drive seekers while at the same time banish Mas into political oblivion once and for all.