While Catalan separatists are set for a massive turn out in a much-disputed symbolic independence referendum on Sunday, many Catalans who want the wealthy region remain a part of Spain will not take part
While Catalan separatists are set for a massive turn out in a much-disputed symbolic independence referendum on Sunday, many Catalans who want the wealthy region remain a part of Spain will not take part.
The head of the Catalan government, Artur Mas, originally planned to hold a official non-binding independence referendum on Sunday. But he downgraded it to a symbolic vote organized largely by volunteers with same-day voter registration after Spain's Constitutional Court in September suspended the official referendum at the request of the central government.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria has called the symbolic vote "a legal fraud" and the Constitutional Court on Tuesday ordered the Catalan government to suspend that ballot as well.
But the Catalan government argues the symbolic vote, which they call a "citizen participation process", is legal and it plan to press ahead with it.
Political parties and associations that oppose independence reject the Catalan government's argument that it "has the right to decide" and plan to boycott the vote. "It's a huge joke," said Matias Alonso of the tiny Ciudadanos or "Citizens" party, which is fervently opposed to Catalan independence. "It's illegal, illegitimate and anti-democratic and we are not going to take part in an anti-democratic process."