The Catalonian vote

CLOSE ON the heels of the Scottish referendum, Catalonians are also gearing up for their right to vote for independence in what Spain believes to be utterly unconstitutional.

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Published: Sun 28 Sep 2014, 9:40 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:45 PM

Unlike Edinburgh’s case where London agreed to let the adult franchise go ahead, Madrid says that it will block any such effort and even move the highest constitutional court against the voices of secession. The move is in retaliation to the independence referendum decree that Catalonian leader Artur Mas signed on Saturday to hold the vote on November 9. But at a time when a majority of Catalonians are supposed to be in favour of opting for a separate state, as is evident from the lawmakers’ margin of vote — 106 to 28 — in the local assembly, Madrid’s iron-fist tactics will hardly stand the test of time. It has to opt for an out-of-the-box solution to peacefully address the difference of opinion.

It is understandable as to why Madrid is so nervous about the proposed vote as an independent Catalonia, which would include Barcelona as its capital, will deprive Spain of one of its richest and highly industrialised regions. But a better way to go ahead in an era of Orange revolutions, Velvet divorces and Arab Spring is to let the people exercise their right to speak up and enable them to be accountable for their dreams and aspirations in the long run.

The way Britain went ahead to contest the Scottish referendum by persuading an evenly pitched electorate to pronounce a big ‘No’ is worth emulating. The entire game-changer was done by London in a matter of few weeks as Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband joined hands to win a staggering 55 per cent ‘No’ vote against secession. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has to keep his cool and is better advised to tackle the crisis in a political manner. There is no harm if the vote goes ahead and Catalonians are allowed to speak through the ballot.

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