MADRID – Quim Torra, the president of the Catalan government, called Friday on Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to hold a referendum on the region’s independence from Spain following the example of popular votes held in Canada’s Quebec.
On Thursday, Sanchez allowed the possibility of early election in the country, if the parties advocating Catalonia’s independence refused to support the socialist government, “giving priority to conflict rather then to cooperation.” Torra, for his part, accused the Spanish authorities of the lack of cooperation.
“Dear head of the government, taking into account political prisoners and exiles, thousands of Catalans have been under investigation for October 1 [when Catalonia’s independence referendum was held, deemed illegal by Madrid], while Catalonia’s democratic right for self-recognition has been repeatedly denied, and who is putting conflict first then?” Torra wrote, adding that the negotiations and agreement between Canada and Quebec served as an example of constructive talks.
Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec held independence referendums twice. The both referendums rejected the province’s independence. In 2006, nevertheless, the Canadian authorities made a symbolic step and recognized the Quebeckers as a nation within Canada.
On October 1, 2017, the northeastern Spanish region held an independence referendum, which resulted in 90 percent of voters supporting Catalonia’s secession from Spain. On October 27, 2017, the Catalan government proclaimed the region’s independence, but the central Spanish government responded by imposing direct governance over Catalonia just one day later, refusing to accept the vote.