THE CATALAN REFERENDUM: A SNAPSHOT ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION I
When Spain became a democracy in 1978, the new Constitution recognized and created the different regions (Comunidades Autónomas) that made up the country. The 1979 Catalan Statute of Autonomy set out the competences, level of autonomy and the relationship between the State and Catalonia.
In 2006, a renewed version of the Statute of Catalonia was approved by Parliament with the support both of the Catalan Parliament and of the people of Catalonia, who endorsed the law through a referendum (73% voted in favour with a participation of 48,85%). In 2010 this Statute took a step backwards as the Constitutional Court cut back some of the prerogatives awarded by the text and this moment is seen by many as the point in time when disaffection towards Spain and a desire of independence began to take shape.
In 2014, the Catalan government called on a first consultation for the independence of Catalonia. The consultation contained two questions: would you like for Catalonia to be a State? If so, should it be an independent State? The results showed that 80.76% of voters wanted Catalonia to be an independent State; however, participation was only of 33% (approximately 2.3 million). The consultation came about thanks to the Catalan Consultation Act, a legal instrument that was later annulled by the Constitutional Court.
At the time, the region was governed by CDC, a centre-right political party with close ties to the Catalan bourgeoisie which after decades of absolute majority needed the support of the pro-independence, Republican left ERC, to stay in power.
Due to the inability to hold a referendum agreed with the Spanish Government, CDC and ERC agreed to call for early elections on September 2015, using the election as a way to prove the support for the independence. For that reason, CDC and ERC joined together in a common list called Junts Pel Sí, Together for the Yes. The coalition list formed by the two pro-independence parties won the elections. The main issue of their electoral program was the promise to achieve independence in 18 months. Overall, the pro-independence parties (CDC, ERC and the anticapitalist CUP) accounted for the majority of the Catalan Parliament, with 72 seats of a total of 135.
Over the last 2 years there has been a constant struggle between the more moderate CDC (which has since changed its name to PdeCAT) and its coalition partner ERC; which, together with the CUP, have made their support to pass the yearly budgets conditional upon the celebration of the referendum and the approval of certain controversial reforms.
KEY MILESTONES IN THE LAST WEEKS
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