Catalonia tries to breakaway from Spain

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Where is Catalonia?

Catalonia is a region in northeastern Spain. It is the wealthiest region/province in Spain. Approximately 7.5 million people live there, accounting for 15 percent of Spain’s population.

The city of Barcelona lies in this province. To most of us Catalonia is the land of Gaudi, the beautiful Sagrada Familia, birth place of the artist Salvador Dali and the home of FC Barcelona!

The region partly governs itself. For example it runs its own healthcare, education and security. It also has its own flag, national anthem and language (Catalan).

Some of the citizens (Separatists) of Catalonia have been demanding a separate nation. They want to be independent of Spain. They don’t consider themselves as Spaniards.

The Catalonian leaders organised a big vote (referendum) on Sunday, Oct 1st 2017. They held a vote to decide whether to stay in Spain or break away and become a separate country.

Why are they demanding a separate nation?

The citizens of Catalonia believe their province offers more financial support to Spain than it receives back from the central government in Madrid. They feel they are supporting other wealthy provinces. They would rather have financial independence and use the money collected from its citizens to improve Catalonian lives.

Who is opposing them?

The Spanish government in Madrid is opposing the Catalonian effort. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy does not agree with the Catalonian leaders and says that the vote is against the law.

The Spanish national government prevented many of the voters from coming out to vote on Sunday. They sent in national police forces after the local Catalan Mossos police failed to close polling booths. There was violence and many people got hurt.

What happened with the vote?

Even though fewer voters came out because of the violence, 90% voted for independence.

  • The region has 5.3 million registered voters.
  • Of which 2.26 million voted.
  • 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted on Sunday chose yes.
  • 8% of voters rejected independence
  • Rest of the ballots were blank or void.
  • 15,000 votes were still being counted.

Irrespective of the outcome, the Spanish government refuses to accept the Catalanion vote. 

The Catalonian leadership are saying they don’t want a “traumatic break” with Madrid. They are looking forward to renewed discussions. 

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