Catalonia asks for Spain’s agreement for a new referendum on independence


A woman is silhouetted in an Estelada flag (the Catalan independence flag) during a protest called by the separatist Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) against the visit of Spain’s King Felipe VI at the Mobile World inaugural dinner Congress, in Barcelona, ​​Spain June 27, 2021. REUTERS/Albert Gea

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BARCELONA, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Catalonia will press the Spanish government for a new deal on holding a binding referendum on the region’s possible independence that would be recognized by both Spain and the community international community, its separatist leader said on Tuesday.

The Spanish government, however, rejected the proposal.

“They have these maximalist aspirations, which are absolutely not shared by the government,” spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez told reporters.

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But the two governments would continue to talk to “normalize” their relationship, she said.

The so-called ‘clarity deal’ proposal comes shortly before the fifth anniversary of Catalonia’s unauthorized referendum on independence and at a critical time for its separatist movement, which is marred by divisions between moderates and radicals who have threatened to fracture the coalition government.

Spain‘s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has favored dialogue with Catalonia to rebuild relations after a chaotic unilateral bid for independence in 2017 plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in years.

He remains staunchly opposed to independence, however, and has so far ruled out a legal referendum. Spain’s constitution blocks the breakup of the country, but some Catalan academics and separatists say there could be legal room for a vote if the Spanish government agrees.

A similar proposal from Catalonia in 2012 was firmly rejected by the then conservative government in Madrid. The wealthy northeastern region held a referendum five years later despite the courts banning it and issued a short-lived unilateral declaration of independence.

The head of the Catalan government, Pere Aragones, told the regional parliament that for another referendum, Catalonia needs the support of Madrid.

“I am convinced that this is the quickest and most efficient way to organize another vote because it builds on the lessons learned from 2017 and overcomes the difficulties that did not allow us to implement the result five years ago. years,” he said.

He called his proposal “the most inclusive, democratic and explainable to the international community”, and said he would seek the support of all political actors in Catalonia.

Aragones engaged in talks with Madrid, and his party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, frequently lent its votes to the Socialist-led minority government in congress.

Around 52% of Catalans oppose independence and 41% support it, according to a June poll.

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(Reporting by Joan Faus, additional reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Aislinn Laing and Angus MacSwan)

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