Map of the Iberian peninsula that includes Spain and Portugal. The region of Catalonia is shown in red. Image courtesy: Wikimedia.
The Spanish region of Catalonia will move to declare independence from Spain on Monday, 9 October after a referendum on 1 October which the Spanish state denounced as being unconstitutional. The brutal police crackdown ordered by the Spanish government on the people who participated in the vote to break away had elicited wide condemnation.
Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker from the pro-independence, left-wing Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, said on Wednesday that a declaration of independence would follow a parliamentary session on Monday to evaluate the results of the referendum. “We know that there may be disbarments, arrests ... But we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped,” she said on Twitter.
Two million Catalans voted in favour of the region breaking away from Spain and forming an independent republic in Sunday's referendum of independence, which saw a turnout of about 40 per cent. The referendum was declared illegal by the country's constitutional court.
According to a bill passed by the Catalan parliament in September, the region will declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of a Yes vote. The final results are not in yet, suggesting a declaration later this week or early next week, said a Financial Times report.
The law said that there will be no minimum turnout requirement to make the referendum results binding. Hence the region's government says that the result of the vote has given it the mandate to proceed with the declaration of independence.
Earlier on Tuesday night, Spain's King Felipe VI made an emergency speech where he took an uncompromising line, accusing the Catalan government of flouting the law and seeking to "break the unity of Spain". The king's stance is widely seen as being almost identical with the hardline position adopted by the Popular Party, the right-wing ruling party of Spain.
Carles Puigdemont, the President of Catalonia, slammed the King's speech, accusing him of following the central government's "catastrophic" policies towards the region. The Catalan president vowed to move forward with a formal declaration of independence in the coming days.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy repeated the tough stance of the central government in a statement on Wednesday. “If Mr Puigdemont wants to talk or negotiate, or wants to send mediators, he know perfectly what he first needs to do: go back to the law,” the statement said.
The Catalan government is now to decide how and when exactly the declaration of independence could be made.
More than 800 people were injured in the police crackdown on the Catalan referendum on October 1.
Spain’s ruling Popular Party and powerful sections of the ruling establishment in Europe have taken recourse to arguments based on the principle of sovereignty and the inviolability of the Spanish constitution to defend the Spanish government's crackdown on the referendum. Political observers were quick to point out the double standards involved in the European elite invoking these principles. "I don't remember any of these people referring to the sacredness of constitutions and sovereignty of existing states when it came to the breakup of Yugoslavia,” said Kevin Ovenden, British author and political activist.