Monday, January 28th 2013 - 04:49 UTC

Spanish secessionism makes first move: Catalonia is “a sovereign political and legal entity”

Catalonia regional parliament has approved a declaration proclaiming the Catalan people a “sovereign political and legal entity”. The motion also calls for a referendum to be held to allow Catalans their say on independence.

Rajoy says it will fight on constitutional grounds any attempt to hold a referendum on secession from Spain

The motion was passed by 85 votes to 41. The ruling Convergencia I Union coalition was backed by its parliamentary partner Esquerra Republicana (ERC), and the communist green coalition ICV.

The Partido Popular, most of the Catalan socialists (PSC) Party, and Ciutadans, a non-separatist platform, voted against.

The growing separatist movement in wealthy Catalonia - which has its own language - presents a major challenge for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he fights to maintain Spanish unity and steer the country out of a deep economic and fiscal crisis.

Rajoy’s government says it will fight on constitutional grounds any attempt to hold a referendum on secession from Spain. It is widely believed that if Catalonia holds a referendum, the Basque Country would follow, potentially breaking up Spain.

The declaration backs the right to self determination and states that “all existing legal means will be utilized to effect democratic strengthening and the exercise of the right to decide in dialogue and negotiation with the Spanish state, the European institutions and the international community.”

The exact nature of the text had caused divisions in the Socialist ranks and among the upper echelons of the CiU coalition.

ERC leader Oriol Junqueras opened the debate on what he called a “historic day.”

“Sovereignty implies, literally, that there is nothing that ranks higher than the democratic will of the people,” Junqueras said. In response to the Socialists’ proposal for shared sovereignty with Spain, Junqueras noted: “The right to decide cannot be shared with another legal entity. The right to decide is a matter of one, not two or three.”

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1 Rufus (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 10:24 am Report abuse
And if Catalonia becomes independent, then what does this say for the territorial integrity of Spain?
And does that mean that the fatuous arguement that Gibraltar is part of Spain's territorial integrity, despite having ceded it in perpetuity (which as we all know translates to “until we need to make political capital out of it” in Spanish), is now as watertight as an Argentinian destroyer.
2 ChrisR (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 11:01 am Report abuse

Damn, you beat me to it.

We can expect further sabre rattling from the Spanish government over Gibraltar if only to take the heat off the Catalonia time-bomb. Some chance there, they seem to have the 'bit between their teeth' on this.
3 Anglotino (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 11:57 am Report abuse
Seems self-determination is spreading!
4 LEPRecon (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 12:06 pm Report abuse
Yup the Spanish government are crapping themselves.

If they deny Catalonia a referendum, they make themselves look like bullies and dictators. If they allow the referendum and Catalonia votes to cede, Spain will have lost one of its most lucrative provines, and basically Spain will cease to exist.

Kosovo was the turning point here, that basically set a precedent AGAINST the right of territorial integrity.

If Catalonia goes, we may see other countries in similar straights.

What the Spainish government should do is show the Catalonians that being a part of Spain will be far more beneficial to them than being independent.

But I have a feeling that Spain will mishandle this, and do a lot of shouting, posturing, constantly mentioning Gibraltar etc..., instead of doing something positive.

Knowing human nature, the more you tell someone they can't become independent, the more they will want to be independent.
5 Anbar (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 05:37 pm Report abuse
“”“is now as watertight as an Argentinian destroyer.”“”

6 briton (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 07:37 pm Report abuse
Well mr Mariano Rajoy,
It’s all backfiring on you,
And serves ya right,
Now leave Gibraltar along
Before you eventually lose the rest of Spain.
Hope you Argies are watching this fool,
You’ll be next,
7 lsolde (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 08:10 pm Report abuse
You beat me to it, briton.
Hope the idea catches on in Argentina. lol
8 briton (#) Jan 28th, 2013 - 08:15 pm Report abuse
fortress falklands,
i made an error,
but cant say soory untill someone else posts.
9 screenname (#) Jan 29th, 2013 - 02:00 pm Report abuse
Catalonia will not be leaving Spain in a hurry. Madrid is nowhere near as grown up as London. Out of Spain also means out of the EU and a trade boycott by Spain as well (and that is Catalonia's biggest trading partner).

Don't get me wrong, I would love Catalonia tell Madrid where to go, but I just can't see it happening.
10 ljordao (#) Jan 29th, 2013 - 05:41 pm Report abuse
I wonder if Marcelo Kohen, the pseudoscholar who is blind to the depravity of his famous but bizarre interpretation of the principle of territorial integrity, is chewing his fingernails. He is still sore from his Kosovo fiasco, and Catalonia's independence might turn out to be a big landmark in the emergence of the legal right of self-determination. (The natural right has always existed.)

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