By Humaam Said
Catalonia, home for 7.5 million people, voted to declare independence from Spain again this October. In a vote 70 to 10, the Catalan parliament voted in favor of independence. Since, Spain has ruled Catalonia’s decision illegal, causing protests to break out in both Spain and Catalonia.
One of the many reasons Catalonian citizens pushed for national independence is the fundamental cultural differences that occur in the “two” countries. Catalonia has its own flag, national anthem, and its own language, Catalan (closer to French than Spanish), along with having different traditions and holidays. Catalan is autonomous to Spain, with its own government and elections, and makes up 19% of Spain’s GDP (266 billion Euros).
This is not the first time Catalonia has voted for independence. In 2014, Catalonia announced a referendum (a vote in which all people who are eligible vote on a single political question) to declare Catalonia’s independence. 80% of voters said “yes” to Catalonia becoming a state and becoming independent. The Spanish government declared this referendum invalid and Catalonia did not press forward with being independent.
Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish government had rejected the decision made by Catalonia, as seen by the action of Spain using Article 155 of the Spanish law code to suspend the autonomy of Catalonia, removing Carles Puigdmont (President of Catalonia) and some of the officials that started the referendum for independence from Civic Office. The Civil Guard, a police force in Spain, arrested senior officials that were involved in the referendum.
As tension increases between Spain and Catalonia, it becomes unclear whether independence will be achieved for Catalonia now or in the future.