Now Part of Spain Wants to Break Off—Illegally

Catalonia says it will hold referendum on issue, in face of court ruling
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2014 11:18 AM CDT
Now Catalonia Wants to Break From Spain—Illegally
People hold a Barcelona, left, and a Catalan pro-independence flag.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

More secessionist rumblings: Catalonia is technically a largely autonomous "community" in northeastern Spain. It would like to be much less than that. The region's parliament last year decided that it would hold a referendum on secession, something it says it fully intends to do on Nov. 9—even though Spain's Constitutional Court yesterday ruled such a move illegal, reports AFP. Catalonia's president wants to see it become its own EU state, something the EU is also not on board with, reports Reuters.

The court's ruling stated that a region "cannot unilaterally call a referendum on self-determination to decide on its integration in Spain," and therefore dubbed parliament's assertion of its right to hold such a vote "unconstitutional and null." The country's PM says any comparisons between Catalonia's situation and Scotland's are moot, because Britain has no constitution barring Scotland from holding a similar referendum. One of the roots of the secessionist bid: money. Catalonia is home to about a sixth of the country's people but makes up a fifth of its economic output, and has taken issue with how Spain's taxation system divvies up wealth between the various regions. (Also making a secession bid: Venice.)

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