Friday, 18 September 2009

Can Catalonia Hold a Referendum on Independence?

Some English language sources have referred to the Arenys de Munt referendum as illegal. That is incorrect since, in the end, this poll was carried out by a private and not by a public entity.

What is true is that the existing Spanish constitution does not allow for autonomous regions like Catalonia or Euskadi (the Basque Country) to organize referenda on sovereignty and independence. The current autonomy charter (l’estatut) will grant Catalonia the right to arrange "consultations" (consultes populars), but the implementation of this document is, for now, blocked by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

In Arenys de Munt this issue was solved by letting a private initiative organize the event. However, already now can Catalan public entities, if desired, formally document the population’s opinion on a separate state; they just have to phrase the question so that it focuses on the road to independence, rather than on independence as such.

The Generalitat – the highest democratic institution of Catalonia – could ask the population: “Do you want to make the necessary amendments to laws and the constitution, in order for Catalonia to be an independent state of the EU?” In a municipality, the question could be: “Do you want for the town council to propose an amendment to the autonomy charter so that it establishes Catalonia as an independent state?”

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Relaterad posts on this blog:

- The Voting Procedure for the Catalan Referendum on Independence
- Catalan Independence and Yet Another Neutral Swede
- Catalan Independence? Coming Sunday Brings Us the Answer
- Catalanism is Not Independentism
- The Referendum in Vilanova – Highly Interesting or Utterly Boring?
- December 13, Catalonia Holds a Referendum on Independence
- Arenys de Munt – the First of Many Catalan Referenda

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Estatut, Independence

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