Only 2 in every 10 Catalans back the controversial referendum for Catalan independence from Spain, due to be held on the 9th November, a new poll has found. The referendum is currently the subject of ongoing clashes between the Spanish government, who have branded it “illegal”, and the Catalan regional government which is renewing its push for secession in the wake of the Scottish referendum on independence.
The poll, by Metroscopia for the Spanish newspaper El Pais on Sunday, also found that less than a third of Catalans want outright independence, whilst nearly half would back a motion to stay within Spain if Catalonia was granted special status and received “new, protected and exclusive realms of authority”, The Local has reported. 16 percent wanted to keep the current setup.
45 percent wanted Catalonia’s president Artus Mas to “comply with the legal decision” that the planned referendum is unconstitutional, and negotiate with Madrid to hold a vote which would “respect the constitution”. Yet only 23 percent wanted Mas to ignore the ruling and press ahead, whilst a further 25 percent wanted regional leaders to work towards a solution to bring about independence without a referendum.
One idea being floated, as it would stay within constitutional rules, is that all the pro-independence parties should run for office in an snap election on a joint platform. However, 58 percent of those surveyed thought this was a bad idea.
The Madrid government has made it clear that it does not wish to grant Catalonia a referendum on independence and has challenged it constitutionally. Last week the proposed referendum came before the Constitutional Court, which suspended the referendum from proceeding whilst the legality of the ballot is decided, a process which may take some years.
However the Catalan government remains bullish, although cracks are starting to show within the pro-independence movement. Catalan’s government spokesman Francesc Homs indicated that a decision on whether or not to go ahead would have to be made within the week, during a radio interview on Rac 1. “You can extend some of the timeframes… but we can’t decide to do this, if it is something we must decide, on November 7th or 8th,” he said. In response, the pro-independence ERC party warned that such talk on the part of the government could jeopardise the vote.
The prosperous region, situated in north east Spain, has long complained that it gets given a raw deal by the Madrid government as tax money flows away from Catalonia to poorer parts of the country.