The law which made Sunday’s referendum possible calls for a declaration of independence from Spain within two days of a “yes” vote, but there are reasons to doubt the Catalans will go that far:
- 90 percent voted for independence, but only 42 percent turned out. Many opponents stayed home.
- The law was suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court, which previously ruled an independence referendum illegal.
- The Spanish central government would try to prevent Catalonia from breaking away.
- The regional government has virtually no international support for a declaration of independence.
- The Catalan economy would suffer. That is why many business leaders are opposed.
On the other hand, Carles Puigdemont, the regional president, is a true believer. He has already claimed Catalonia has won the “right” to secede.
Others in his center-right Democratic Party are less sure, but the politics are not in their favor: If they don’t declare independence, left-wing parties would likely abandon the ruling coalition, forcing snap elections which, according to the polls, the Democrats would lose.