Spanish Far Left Takes Rajoy to Task for Catalan “Repression”

Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks at a rally in Madrid, May 20
Spanish Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks at a rally in Madrid, May 20 (Podemos)

Pablo Iglesias, the head of Spain’s far-left Podemos movement, has criticized Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for his handling of the Catalan separatist challenge.

In a series of tweets, Iglesias takes Rajoy and his government to task for their “fear of democracy”.

Defending Spain requires providing political solutions to historical problems. Prison and repression will only compound the problems.

Iglesias accuses Rajoy of aggravating support for independence by refusing to negotiate with the Catalans and argues that the only way out of the crisis is to let them vote. Read more “Spanish Far Left Takes Rajoy to Task for Catalan “Repression””

The Arguments For and Against Catalan Independence

Girona Spain demonstration
Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Girona, October 1, 2014 (Ariet/Carles Palacio)

Catalans are due to vote on independence from Spain in a referendum next month, despite objections from Madrid.

Most of the arguments for independence are cultural or emotional. Opponents are more likely to point out concrete economic and security risks. Read more “The Arguments For and Against Catalan Independence”

Don’t Force Catalans to Choose Between Independence and the Status Quo

Sign demanding a vote for Catalan independence in Girona, Spain, September 22, 2014
Sign demanding a vote for Catalan independence in Girona, Spain, September 22, 2014 (Keith Roper)

Last night I wrote that time is running out to avoid a constitutional crisis in Spain. The Catalans are determined to hold an independence referendum in October; the central government in Madrid is determined to prevent one.

This seems to be a case of an unstoppable force meeting an unmovable object, but there may still be a way out. Read more “Don’t Force Catalans to Choose Between Independence and the Status Quo”

Time Is Running Out to Avoid a Constitutional Crisis in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, September 7 (La Moncloa)

The governments in Barcelona and Madrid continue on their collision course. Time is running out to avoid a constitutional crisis in Spain.

  • Catalonia’s regional parliament legislated this week for an independence referendum from Spain.
  • Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to stop it.
  • His government challenged the legality of the referendum to the Constitutional Court, which promptly suspended the law while it considers arguments.
  • Prosecutors filed criminal charges against senior Catalan officials, including the regional president and speaker of parliament.
  • Law enforcement agencies in Catalonia have been instructed to seize ballot boxes. Read more “Time Is Running Out to Avoid a Constitutional Crisis in Spain”

Support for Catalan Independence Down, But It Could Still Happen

Catalans celebrate their National Day in Barcelona, Spain, September 13, 2012
Catalans celebrate their National Day in Barcelona, Spain, September 13, 2012 (Fotomovimiento)

Support for independence is falling in Catalonia, but it could still happen if opponents don’t vote.

A comprehensive survey of public opinion conducted every four months for the regional government found that only 41 percent of Catalans want to break away from Spain.

But those voters are more motivated to turn out. Read more “Support for Catalan Independence Down, But It Could Still Happen”

Barcelona and Madrid Are on a Collision Course

View of the Columbus Monument in Barcelona, Spain
Aerial of the Columbus Monument in Barcelona, Spain (Unsplash/Benjamin Voros)

Since Catalonia’s regional government announced it plans to hold an independence referendum in September, tensions with the central government in Madrid have been rising:

  • Catalan leaders have said they would declare independence within 48 hours of a vote to break away from Spain, regardless of turnout.
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has dismissed the plan as an “authoritarian delusion”.
  • Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal has warned that the armed forces are tasked not only with “protecting the values of democracy and the Constitution, but also the integrity and sovereignty” of Spain.
  • Spain’s Constitutional Court has blocked the €5.8 million the Catalan government had set aside to pay for the referendum.
  • Catalonia is in the process of separating its tax agency from Spain’s in case the region decides to secede. Read more “Barcelona and Madrid Are on a Collision Course”

Catalans, Kurds, Given No Other Choice, Announce Referendums

Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Girona, October 1, 2014
Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Girona, October 1, 2014 (Ariet/Carles Palacio)

Both the Catalans and Iraq’s Kurds have announced independence referendums this week over the objections of their central governments.

The two might seem a world away. Catalans have virtually no security concerns. The Kurds are waging a war on two fronts: one against Turkey to the north and another against the self-proclaimed Islamic State to the south.

Yet they have things in common. Read more “Catalans, Kurds, Given No Other Choice, Announce Referendums”