Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 4
By Alan Hope - Trend:
On Oct 1, 2017, a date later on to be marked as a day of Celebration and Violence, Barcelona Generalitat’s pro-independence government, in accordance with its Nov 9, 2015 “Catalexit” plan (the Declaration of the Initiation of the Process of Independence of Catalonia), had defied the official Madrid and the 1978 Spanish Constitution by staging a unilateral referendum on “Cataleave” of the Kingdom to become an independent state.
Results of voting
Following the seizure of the ballot boxes and voting slips, detainment of the local political figures, Spanish police raids of the voting stations, the Catalan government claimed that 2.26 million of the region’s 5.3 million eligible voters did participate in the referendum with the preliminary results showing that 80% of the ballots cast were in favor of independence.
EU responds. Not.
While the official Madrid was fumbling its response to the Catalan challenge by brute force and lame political denials, the European leaders, “frozen” by the headlights of the rapidly upcoming secession truck and true to their usual biasness on the issues of self-determination and territorial integrity, almost unanimously had declared the referendum as “an internal issue of Spain.”
As a result, the Generalitat plans to issue its Constitution on Nov 1, 2017, and to proclaim ‘Catalgone’ on Jan 1, 2018, but still stay a part of the European Union. Meanwhile, more than 800 supporters of independence and 400 police officers were injured, and, as general strike continues, huge damage, the ramifications of which are yet to be defined, is being done upon the whole European economy.
Thus, the Kingdom of Spain is disassembling, the stars of the flag dim to their prior resembling, the world financial markets are trembling, as the future prospects seem dissembling, and since European Union is basically quailing, a closer look at the Catalbreak is ailing.
What is Spain?
The Kingdom of Spain is a very complicated unitary state representing a type of a “Gordian Knot” of governance, comprised of a political, financial and administrative contrivance, which, by having all the trends, closely mimics, but is claimed not to be a federation. As such, it is a highly decentralized union of sorts, with the unique framework of the territorial administration.
Spain’s sovereignty, vested in the nation as a whole, is represented in the central institutions of the Madrid government, while the asymmetrically devolved powers are given to the 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities.
What is Catalonia?
Catalonia is the direct descendant of the ancient County of Barcelona, the major part of which was first absorbed by the Aragon Kingdom, to later on be yet again consumed by the Kingdom of Spain, while the minor Northern part, Roussillon, was concurred by the French crown.
It is currently an autonomous community of Spain designated as a nationality. As such, it is a subject of self-governance, having its own legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government, as well its own police force (Mossos d'Esquadra), doesn’t have its own military and is bind only by the Spanish supreme law.
Being Spain’s most industrially developed region it has the highest GRP (around $260B) in the country, representing almost 20% of the Kingdom’s economy.
What is the Catalan pro-independence government?
It’s a rickety coalition, comprised of very different parties including conservatives, leftwing republicans, anti-Europe and even anti-capitalists, which hold a narrow majority in the Catalan Parliament. The parties of this amalgamation, full of frailty with a dash of a hectic political calculation, have little in common but their espousal of the referendum.
What’s the beef between Madrid and Barcelona?
Catalonia, the region still ailing from the stigmata of being a conquered nation, had suffered immensely throughout its history, but especially during Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975), while full-scale linguistic, political and cultural restrictions were imposed on it.
After gaining its autonomy in 1979, the region was gradually acquiring ascending powers of self-governance and yet doesn’t have full fiscal control over its resources, relying on only 60% of the tax convergences from Madrid.
Thus, the Catalan simmering pot, filled by the mentioned historic preconditions, stewing them together with the nationalist “growing pains,” with a dash of a mixture of hazardous spices of the asymmetrically devolved powers system, has insensibly transmuted into a gunpowder keg, with the fuse in and the cord out, destined to explode sooner or later, come the right spark and the ignitor.
Yet no one had asked "Cui bono?"