Catalonia Starts Independence Referendum Campaign

Camille Rivera
September 16, 2017

Juncker was asked if the European Commission would recognise and accept a "Yes" result in the 1 October referendum in Catalonia. "Of course we'll vote!" he told supporters at a rally to open the campaign on Thursday night in Tarragona.

Catalonia's vice president Oriol Junqueras, who is in charge of budget affairs, sent a letter to Spain's central government saying he would not provide a weekly account of his government's spending.

But few expect a positive response.

They have also criticised what they see as heavy-handed measures by Madrid to stop the vote.

Anti-secession sentiment is being supported at the EU level as well, with European Union officials warning that even if Catalonia did successfully secede, it wouldn't mean they'd become members of the European Union.

The Spanish government has maintained that the Catalan government's promise to hold an independence referendum is unconstitutional and illegal.

Prosecutors have also ordered police to seize ballot boxes, election flyers and any other item that could be used in the referendum and launched an official complaint against Puigdemont and other top Catalan officials over their referendum plans.

The decision follows a series of moves to block a Catalan referendum on self-rule, planned for October 1, which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has declared illegal. But like the Catalans, the Kurds are determined to vote anyway.

A July poll commissioned by the regional government found that 41.1% of Catalans supported independence, while 49.4% opposed it.

A concern for those holding the referendum is the possibility of a low turnout by No voters who are deterred by the referendum's illegal status.

But this only appears to strengthen the resolve of pro-independence Catalans.

The region, with a population of 7.5 million, is regarded by Spain as an autonomous community and its people a nationality, in recognition of the area's language and cultural distinctions.

"I believe the Yes [vote] can win and will win and will win with a good margin to show the world there is a majority here in Catalonia that wants to be an independent state", Ramon Piqué, campaign manager for the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the most visible pro-independence civic group, told The Irish Times.

The campaign kickoff will take place at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) at a 10,000 seat capacity bullring in the port of Tarragona, attended by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and representatives of Catalonia's main separatist parties and associations.

Catalan regional authorities are determined to press ahead.

Puigdemont and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau on Friday appealed to the Spanish government for dialogue to avert a crisis.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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