What’s Going On In Catalonia?
What’s going on in Catalonia can be pretty confusing, especially as we wake up every morning to a new progress report or another protest on the news. To help you out, we’ve compiled a timeline of events all the way from 2010 (when tensions first started rising) right up to today to give you the best and most up-to-date outline of what triggered the independence vote in the first place and what remains to happen now.
Spain’s Constitutional Court overrules the nationhood of Catalonia.
The Spanish Prime Minister (Mariano Rajoy) rejects Artur Mas’s (leader of Catalonia at the time) request for greater power over taxes and spending.
Catalonia’s parliament passes a law that has the potential to allow its population to vote on independence from Spain. The law is inspired by Scotland’s independence vote.
Spain’s Prime Minister (Mariano Rajoy) says that he will block any referendum as the central government is the only body that has the power to call one on sovereignty, calling it “a grave attack on the rights of all Spaniards”.
Mas then signs a decree that will allow Catalans to vote on independence on the 9th of November. Soon after, Catalonia suspends its independence campaign.
Spain asks the Constitutional Court to block what is now being called a “symbolic” vote.
Spain declares that the “symbolic” referendum is non-binding and unofficial.
On the 9th of November, 2.3 million Catalans vote on the question: “Should Catalonia be a state, and if so, should it be independent?”. Although 80% vote in favour of independence, the referendum only has a 40% turnout.
Mas announces that there will be snap regional elections in September, much to the disapproval of the central government.
The “Together For Yes” secessionists win 62 seats in the 135 member parliament and the pro-independence CUP win 10. In total, pro-independence parties win 48% of the vote.
The Spanish Constitutional Court suspends the secession resolution proposed by Catalonia.
The resolution is a plan to reform a Catalan Republic within the next 18 months.
Criminal charges are brought against the speaker of the Catalan parliament for allowing the assembly to vote for the independence referendum.
Catalans rally in Barcelona in support of independence.
Mas goes on trial for allowing the informal independence referendum despite the central government’s objections back in 2014.
Mas is found guilty and is banned from holding public office for two years.
Carles Puigdemont (the new Catalan leader) announces that there will be another referendum in October. This time the questions asks, “do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”.
Under Article 155 of the Constitution, Madrid now has the power to intervene directly in the running of the Catalan government if the referendum goes ahead.
In the regional government (controlled by pro-independence parties) 72 vote in favour of the ‘referendum bill’ and 11 abstain.
Over 700 Catalan mayors support what Spanish officials have dubbed an “illegal referendum”. Spanish police then begin confiscating referendum material and arrest the junior economy minister.
Protesters start to gather outside the Supreme Court.
Separatists camp out at polling stations and tensions between police and voters in the region grows.
On the 1st of October, 42% of the 5.3 million Catalans eligible to vote turnout with 90% voting in favour of independence. 900 civilians are injured in the days leading up to and following the referendum.
Trade unionists call for a general strike against Spanish police violence. The Spanish courts respond by suspending the next session in the Catalan parliament.
Puigdemont accepts the “mandate from the people” but asks the regional parliament to suspend a declaration of independence so that open dialogue with the central government can begin.
Separatist leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez are arrested and protests elevate in response.
Spain approves direct rule; this allows Rajoy to trigger Article 155 (considered to be the “nuclear option”).
In the Catalan parliament, 70 vote in favour of independence and 10 vote against it. Rajoy proceeds to dismiss Catalonia’s president and his cabinet, abolishes the offices of regional prime minister and deputy prime minister and calls for new regional elections on the 21st of December.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters, calling themselves the “silent majority”, protest in Barcelona. They call for Spain to stay united and some demand the arrest of Puigdemont.
Written by Ella Nevill