The Spanish government is, unsurprisingly, appealing to the courts to stop Catalonia's independence vote from going forward. On Monday, the government filed an appeal against the measure as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called it "a grave attack on the rights of all Spaniards." He added (via WSJ):
Neither the object nor the proceedings of the vote are compatible with the Spanish constitution."
On Saturday, Catalonia President Artur Mas went forward with a decree that officially called for a vote on the issue of Catalan independence in November, despite warnings that it would be deemed illegal. According to reports, the Spanish court is expected to meet later today and many anticipate that the court will reject the Catalan initiative.
The November 9 referendum is noteworthy for a few reasons. The first is that it is actually nonbinding. However, the movement for a Catalan independence appears to be wildly popular among the region's city councils:
The numbers among the roughly 5 million Catalans themselves remain more evenly split.
As we noted earlier this month, the Catalan push for independence seems to have been given momentum from Scotland's referendum, despite Scottish voters' rejection of the measure.
The issues that brought Scots to the polls aren't just similar to those that are guiding Catalans to the streets, they are amplified: Catalonia's frustration with the Spanish government comes in part from being the wealthiest region in the country. Catalonia's separate historical legacy and identity is even more stratified with nearly half of the region speaking Catalan as its primary language.
Rajoy has said that the Spanish government is willing to negotiate over issues like taxes and autonomy if the Catalan referendum is scrapped.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.