27-07-2015EFE

The President of Catalonia, Arthur Mas, has pronounced the 27 September  regional elections in Catalonia a de facto plebiscite on independence.
He is warning that he will declare unilateral independence in the event of his reelection within six months of his elections. The longstanding President  is leading a secessionist bloc with the Catalan Republican Left (ERC).
In a poll published this week, the pro-independence camp in Catalonia is leading the polls, with 39% favouring a union and 47% preferring independence. This is a comfortable lead for secession.
54% of Catalans could live with a Federal Spain in the framework of greater devolution, an idea that is supported across Spain by merely 34%.
Across the country, a standoff between Barcelona and Madrid is thought to be inevitable by 60% of respondents whilst 73% agree that Catalan secession would be bad for Spain.

Referendum
The standoff has already begun.
Last November, the Catalan government held an unofficial referendum that yielded a pro-independence result.
This set the region on a pro-independence trajectory ruining a 37 year governing coalition between the President’s  CiU (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia) and the Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC). The new found ally for Mas, the ERC, has paradoxically been the longstanding left opposition to Mas.
UDC does not support outright independence, but merely greater Spanish devolution.
The new emerging political force originating from Catalonia, Ciudadanos, are also largely pro-union. Whilst this is thought to be a minority position, it is gaining ground.
Being anti-independence is historically a taboo issue since unitary positions have for long been associated with the Franco regime.
But, the pro-independence movement correlates with policies of severe austerity, thought to be imposed by Madrid, adding a “neoliberal” layer upon the Franco unitary legacy. Ironically, the champion of independence, the President  Arthur Mas, was the one who introduced most of the pro-austerity legislation and even had to be flown with a helicopter into the Catalan parliament to circumvent angry demonstrators in 2011.

King Felipe VI
The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has made clear that on his watch Catalonia is not going to leave Spain.
 King Felipe VI also called upon the Prime Minister of Catalonia to respect rule of law.

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