Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.
Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.
Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.
“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”
Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.
He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.