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A potential game-changer in the Catalonia independence referendum

Could police deployment at polling stations actually galvanise Catalans to vote in Sunday's independence referendum?

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A potential game-changer in the Catalonia independence referendum

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The countdown to the Catalan independence referendum is in its final stretch, but opinion polls on the controversial ballot are few and far between. The majority of voters were initially thought to be against secession from Spain, however this could now have changed. Madrid’s decision to deploy police at polling stations to thwart the referendum may have pushed some Catalans in the other direction, as Lluís Orriols, professor at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, told euronews.

Lluís Orriols

“In recent months there has been a progressive decline people wanting independence. It had gone from its maximum support of 50%, to just over 40% at the beginning of the summer. So it hit a low point, but could still gain enough support to win a referendum if this one were legal and had guarantees… Independentism is starting from a particularly low quota compared to recent last years, but this is surely going to be modified after the events of the recent weeks and what could still happen on Sunday.

“If we simplify it, we can say that a third of the Catalan population can be labelled as pure and unconditional advocates for independence. For them their support for the secession project does not depend on events that may or may not happen in the run-up to the vote. However, roughly 10% don’t really favour independence. They are citizens whose ideal, whose first choice would be a different one, a federal Spain, with a Catalonia with greater autonomy.”

“What should the central government do to regain people’s loyalty or support for the Spanish project of these federalist voters? Propose a third option giving back the belief to these citizens that Spain can be reformed, and that will grant Catalonia more autonomy.”