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Will Catalonia’s independence vote go ahead?

A test of separatist feeling will come on 'Diada', the Catalan national day on September 11 Keystone

Two recent polls have revealed that a majority of Catalans believe a planned independence vote in November should not go ahead if, as expected, the referendum is declared illegal.

This content was published on September 8, 2014 - 11:32
swissinfo.ch with agencies

Catalan President Artur Mas has promised a referendum allowing Catalans to decide whether they want the wealthy northeastern region to break away from Spain.

But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to block the move in the courts, saying such a vote would be unconstitutional. The vote would come nearly two months after an independence vote in Scotland on September 18.

Just 23% of those surveyed in a Metroscopia poll published in El PaisExternal link on September 6 said Catalonia should press ahead with the referendum, even if it is declared illegal.

The poll showed 45% of those surveyed believed Catalonia should respect the decision of the court and 25% said the region should look for other legal ways to redraw its relationship with Spain.

A separate NC Report poll, published in La Razon newspaper, showed 55% of Catalans would not support the referendum if declared illegal. Both polls surveyed 1,000 people.

The wealthy region of Catalonia, with a population of seven million people, has its own language and cultural identity and has long sought greater self-rule. Central government spending cuts during a deep recession have helped fuel independence sentiment.

But the Metroscopia poll found just 27% of those polled wanted full independence from Spain, with 42% wanting Catalonia to form a part of Spain but under new terms. Many Catalans want more power over taxes and welfare spending.

A test of separatist feeling will come on Catalan national day on September 11, just a week before the Scottish referendum, which in previous years has brought more than one million people onto the streets, draped in the yellow and red regional flag.

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