Catalonia! 加泰隆尼亞

Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 14

Although Spain was united in the 16th century, there was little assimilation or homogenization of the nation, and it remained a collection of diverse regions each with their own defined historical, political, linguistic and cultural traditions. Modern Spain remains a highly decentralized state, composed of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities, each with their own devolved powers.

Article 2 of the Spanish constitution, written in 1978, mentions “historical nationalities,” which are not explicitly identified but were widely understood to refer to the autonomous communities of Galicia in the far north-west, the Basque Country in the middle of the north coast and Catalonia in the far north-east. The term historical nationality implies a recognition of a region’s strong sense of historical and cultural identity.

Many in the Basque region have been calling for independence, as have those from Catalonia and Andalusia in the south. On Sunday, the Catalonian government held a plebiscite with the question, “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”, despite a constitutional court ruling against the legality of the referendum.

According to Catalan officials, there was a 42.3 percent turnout for the vote, in spite of police attempts to stop the process, with almost 90 percent of the votes supporting independence. Article 155 of the constitution allows the central government to suspend Catalan autonomy and intervene in the autonomous region’s running.

The Catalan government is understood to be discussing its response to Thursday’s constitutional court ruling suspending Monday’s regional parliament session, in which the referendum results were due to be discussed. The suspension was ordered to prevent the Catalan government from making a unilateral declaration of independence.

The EU’s budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger, commenting on the possibility of an independence declaration, said “The situation is very, very disturbing. A civil war is planned in the middle of Europe.”

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)