Catalonian Identitarianism on display in Spain:
Pro-secession parties pushing for Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region to break away and form a new Mediterranean nation won a landmark vote Sunday by capturing a regional parliamentary majority, setting up a possible showdown over independence with the central government in Madrid.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, the “Together for Yes” group of secessionists from across a broad political spectrum had 62 seats in the 135-member regional parliament.
Catalans are fiercely proud of their own distinct language and culture. Many who favor breaking away from Spain say their region, which represents nearly a fifth of Spain’s economic output, pays too much in taxes and receives less than its fair share of government investment. Independence sentiment grew during Spain’s near economic meltdown during the financial crisis.
If the secessionist alliance join forces with the radical pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy party known as CUP, which won 10 seats, they will have more than the 68 seats needed to try to push forward their plan to make Catalonia independent from Spain by 2017…
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s ruling Popular Party government says it will use all legal means to prevent Catalonia from breaking away, an exit European leaders have warned would include ejection from the European Union despite claims by secession supporters that a way may be found for an independent Catalonia to stay…
Catalans from both sides of the independence divide extol their Catalan language, spoken by most of the region’s residents and suppressed during Spain’s 1939-1975 dictatorship under Francisco Franco.
Jordi Perez, a 50-year-old civil servant said he voted for “Together for Yes” because he feels Spain has historically disparaged Catalan culture and the region’s language.
“I have wanted independence ever since I was young,” Perez said after voting in Barcelona. “During three centuries they have robbed us of our culture. We have reached the moment that the Catalan people say `enough is enough.'”