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DireWolfSpirit

Catalun independence vote

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We dont have a Spanish politics thread so im inquiring here, what the Eff is going on in Spain and what is the division over?

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The Catalonian regional parliament decided to have a referendum on whether Catalonia should be independent from Spain. The Spanish national government and the constitutional court said that without the national government's permission, which they didn't have, this would be illegal. The Catalan government went ahead anyway, and instead of just letting it happen and ignoring it, the national government sent in the police to try and stop the people from voting, which didn't go well.

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Catalunia is a region in NorthEastern Spain - with Barcelona as the big city. They're been unhappily sitting under Spanish rule for a century or so; and have ahd various ("illegal") votes on the subject; most recently (to my knowledge) about 3 years ago where 80% wanted independence.

 

The seperatists have tried political means, and got a semi-devolved parliament; but want complete independence.

The Spanish government have only ever refused to discuss the issue; and declare polls/votes to be illegal.

 

That Spanish law con declare voting to be illegal (rather than unofficial, unrecognised, unbinding of whatever other wording they chose to use) shows that the law is an ass; and civil disobedience is inevitable.

That the Spanish government not only declare the vote to be illegal, but that it will be shut down with force, and use force and violence to meet peaceful voting / protest shows that they've lost any moral authority.

That shutting down of polling booths, confiscation of ballot boxes, and physical violence from authorities saw a vote that still got a 42.3% turnout shows the depth of feeling on the issue locally. That 90% of that 42% voted in favour of independence show why the Spanish government refuse to talk about this like adults.

IIRC the last vote saw ~80% in favour of independence; though I can't remember turnout for that.

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37 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

Catalunia is a region in NorthEastern Spain - with Barcelona as the big city. They're been unhappily sitting under Spanish rule for a century or so; and have ahd various ("illegal") votes on the subject; most recently (to my knowledge) about 3 years ago where 80% wanted independence.

 

The seperatists have tried political means, and got a semi-devolved parliament; but want complete independence.

The Spanish government have only ever refused to discuss the issue; and declare polls/votes to be illegal.

 

That Spanish law con declare voting to be illegal (rather than unofficial, unrecognised, unbinding of whatever other wording they chose to use) shows that the law is an ass; and civil disobedience is inevitable.

That the Spanish government not only declare the vote to be illegal, but that it will be shut down with force, and use force and violence to meet peaceful voting / protest shows that they've lost any moral authority.

That shutting down of polling booths, confiscation of ballot boxes, and physical violence from authorities saw a vote that still got a 42.3% turnout shows the depth of feeling on the issue locally. That 90% of that 42% voted in favour of independence show why the Spanish government refuse to talk about this like adults.

IIRC the last vote saw ~80% in favour of independence; though I can't remember turnout for that.

I'm no historian, but Catalonia (or Cataluña/Catalunya, if you prefer the Spanish or Catalan nomenclature) has been a part of the Crown of Aragon since the XII century. The marriage of the King of Aragon with the Queen of Castille, in the XV century unified the Crown of Aragon and that of Castille, and is probably the founding moment of what later would become Spain. The Catalans have always fallen somewhere between having a strong regional identity and vying for independence, with several attempts having been made in the past (the last in the 1930s), none of them successful.

There was indeed a poll of sorts (a consultation?) the 9th of November of 2014 where most of the polled said they wanted to be independent, though, for political reasons, most people opposed to independence didn't take part (it was deemed illegal, much like yesterday's referendum), with participation being of less than 50% of those polled. More recent polls on independence show a very split society, with results close to 50-50.

The current Spanish government has indeed been incapable of establishing a proper dialogue with Catalonia. The socialist government under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero did much better, but the right-wing government under Mariano Rajoy undid all their work and then some. It has been a pretty disastrous series of political mismanagements.

The Spanish law says a referendum must be summoned by the state, and thus, a referendum summoned by a devolved parliament such as the Catalan one is invalid, and the act of summoning it unlawful. Though voting in itself isn't illegal, the refusal by the Catalan devolved government to abide by the Spanish Constitution and numerous court orders has been considered an act of disobedience and a misappropriation of public funds (which are illegal).

The violence in Catalonia yesterday and the inability of the Spanish and Catalan governments to negotiate (there's enough blame for all) is tragic.

All that said, Spain isn't the UK, and this is a serious derail. Maybe we can have our own thread?

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Denvek said:

The Catalonian regional parliament decided to have a referendum on whether Catalonia should be independent from Spain. The Spanish national government and the constitutional court said that without the national government's permission, which they didn't have, this would be illegal. The Catalan government went ahead anyway, and instead of just letting it happen and ignoring it, the national government sent in the police to try and stop the people from voting, which didn't go well.

Good summary. I will comment later on the events that have happenEd since now I am busy at work

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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Is was surprised that the Guardia Civil still exists as an organistion.

They tried to destroy the young democracy in Spain in 1984 after all.

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37 minutes ago, Wolfgang I said:

Is was surprised that the Guardia Civil still exists as an organistion.

They tried to destroy the young democracy in Spain in 1984 after all.

It was rogue elements within both the Guardia Civil and the Spanish army. If it had been the organization as a whole, it would probably have been disbanded.

Also, it was 1981, not 1984.

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58 minutes ago, Mentat said:

It was rogue elements within both the Guardia Civil and the Spanish army. If it had been the organization as a whole, it would probably have been disbanded.

Also, it was 1981, not 1984.

Ah thanks.

I admit I don't know much about Spanish history after Franco. I should have googled it.  

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@Meera of Tarth

Is it true there are still 700 000 votes lost (aka taken by the police?) A Flemish journalist (who writes for a Flemish Nationalist online news site) saying this on our national television. 

The number of lost votes I hear was something like 15 000

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Posted (edited)

22 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

We dont have a Spanish politics thread so im inquiring here, what the Eff is going on in Spain and what is the division over?

Basically, as other posters have commented, the Catalan Government organised a referendum to ask the citizens whether they wanted Catalonia to become independent from the State of Spain, or not. The question is unconstitutional, since the Spanish Constitution says that Spain is indissoluble, and Spain declared the referendum to be illegal. [the reasons why it has happened are more complex to explain than just the events of the last week/weekend]

Then, they arrested seniors of the Catalan Government, illegaly suspended the Catalan Economics Department, and ordered the Catalan Police to obey the Spanish orders of a Colonel as if it was an State of Emergency on the 1st of October(something that was not since the results of the referendum would not be applied 'cause it was unconstitutional, and thus they could not legally justify this action), amongst other procedures.

These include: the closure of webs related to the referendum or independentist entities, prohibiting the distribution of magazines that had pages talking about the referendum, asking the 700+ mayors  that wanted their towns to vote to go to court, entering to the headquarters of different media or printer houses, retaining Google employees in their offices so as to eliminate an app created by the Catalan Government to know where to vote, or bringing to two Catalan ports about 12000 extra policemen, some of which were from the National Spanish Police and others were from the Guardia Civil (paramilitaries). They managed to confiscate many ballots, but the Catalan Government managed to print more of them, and the ballot boxes were never found by them. One of the three ships in which the Spanish Police slept and stayed during these days (and still are today) was from Warner and had gigantic images of the iconic Looney Tunes, and Warner told them to cover the pictures or leave the ship.

On Friday afternoon, the polling places had to be closed by orders of the Public Prosecutor's office, and many of these are schools. As a result, schools from all Catalonia decided to stay opened all the weekend 24 hours organising activities, and the Catalan Police were ordered to enter them at 6 am on Sunday morning, evacuating everyone and not permitting the referendum in case people wanted to vote.

People started standing in queues at 5am so as to vote since they thought it is a civil right (also symbolical), 4 hours before the schools were to be opened, and at 6 am the Police arrived. The Catalan Police were obeying the orders of Spain, but the senior of them had told them to not bring batons, and be proportional in the use of force so as not to cause incidents, and only use force in case people were acting violently.

The amount of people in each polling place was massive since 5 am all over the region and the Catalan Police made notes about it, but refused to act since there were hundreds of people in each of them and people were just standing in queues waiting to vote. Then, the National Police of pain came in and started using the force, destroying the windows in case they could not enter and hitting pacific people with the batons. In some cases they used ball guns (that are prohibited in Catalonia) causing a man to lose his eye. The images were similar around all the region of Catalonia, and after some hours, people started to vote when they left. There are 893 injuried because of the use of indiscrimate force.

Even after saying that the refrenda was illegal, instead of ignoring the issue and wait till the Government of Catalonia possibly declared Independence  (in case the Yes vote won) the Spanish Government decided to hit hundreds of innocent people of all ages who were just standing in queues in the polling places.

At the end of the day, the PM of Spain said that he was proud of the firm but serene attitude of the National Police so as to defend democracy from those who think differently, and the Party said that they would start investigating the Catalan Police for their "soft" behaviour.

There will be a general strike tomorrow in all Catalonia, including universities and all types of transport as a sign of protest for the brutal acts perpetrated yesterday, and FCB Barcelona and RCD Espanyol (the two main Catalan soccer teams from the Spanish League) have also joined them.

Edited by Meera of Tarth
number of injured updated

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, Tijgy said:

@Meera of Tarth

Is it true there are still 700 000 votes lost (aka taken by the police?) A Flemish journalist (who writes for a Flemish Nationalist online news site) saying this on our national television. 

The number of lost votes I hear was something like 15 000

It is, around 700000 or more, not 15000. Yes, they were taken by the Police. The Catalan Police and the paramilitaries closed some polling schools and the National Police confiscated these 700000+ ballots from many pollling stations.

Even attacking people who were injuried going to an ambulance....

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Mentat said:

There was indeed a poll of sorts (a consultation?) the 9th of November of 2014 where most of the polled said they wanted to be independent, though, for political reasons, most people opposed to independence didn't take part (it was deemed illegal, much like yesterday's referendum), with participation being of less than 50% of those polled. More recent polls on independence show a very split society, with results close to 50-50.

Might I add that the non-binding referendum of 2014 had two questions:

Do you want Catalonia to be an State?

If so, do you want this State to be Independent?

which shows how the separatist movement has been gradual, (being State meant that they contemplated the option of Federalism), but the refusal from the Spanish Government to negotiate the finances after the massive demonstrations year after year lead to higher supports from the citizens to separatism. The PM even refused to negotiate them with the leader of his party in Catalonia,that demanded much less than the Catalan Government.  

Since the party of the PM was responsible of picking up signatures against the new Statute of Catalonia years before all this began ( an Statute that the Catalans had voted and that José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero had promised to approve) and the Constitutional Court finally listened to Mr.Rahoy and his party cutting the sentimental parts of it, amongst many others (this event being the catalyst of the discontempt of the Catalans and their first massive demonstration), one would think that he would have thought about his previous  political mistakes so as that the crises would have not escalated further (for instance negotiating the finances when he had the opportunity or asking about it later), but he didn't because he is not a good strategist, on the contrary.

From then on, the separatism increased even more, he didnt try to negotiate anymore, and the Catalan Gov. become more independentist after calling for new elections, which lead to negotiations be even more complicated between both parts.

After the incidents of Sunday, and him being proud of them (at least in public) which is a shame, I think that only international mediation and public apologies for the brutal assaults would lead to certain stability.

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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11 hours ago, Meera of Tarth said:

National Police of pain

Best typo ever.

I must admit, I have no idea where this will go next. Rajoy has escalated at every turn: what can he do now? I mean, he can refuse to recognise the result, but he could have done that anyway, without the violent suppression by police. Surely he has to be thinking about negotiating now? He must see that refusing to do so is only going to make this crisis worse.

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Posted (edited)

17 hours ago, mormont said:

Best typo ever.

I must admit, I have no idea where this will go next. Rajoy has escalated at every turn: what can he do now? I mean, he can refuse to recognise the result, but he could have done that anyway, without the violent suppression by police. Surely he has to be thinking about negotiating now? He must see that refusing to do so is only going to make this crisis worse.

A competent leader would start negotiating but  how can Rajoy be called a competent leader after saying that he is proud of the Police and has not condemned the attacks (on the contrary)?

In his discourse of Sunday night, he says (amongst many things):

"We have seen behaviours and attitudes that repulse any democrat and that can't not be repeated" (not referring to the Police assaults, but to the "children's indoctrination") 

"I understand the frustration they could be feeling, and I sincerely regret that" 

"From the respect to that cohabitation that is peaceful and legal" [around 5:00]

"A conscious and premeditated attack to which the State has reacted with conviction and serenity" [6:40]

"We have acted with the Law, and only with the Law"

"What they [voters] have found is the serenity and good judgement"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXcENfs7DIk

And what is his party saying now? It's scary:

His party is saying that the general strike today in Catalonia as an act of protest for the assaults has nazi's connotations 

Massive demonstartions are taking place right now https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/03/catalonia-holds-general-strike-protest-referendum-violence

And he was trying to apply the 155 article to suspend the Autonomy of Catalonia today, along with Ciudadanos but  PSOE(Socialists/Labourists) and Podemos are against that and they could not do that.

At this point, Rajoy and his party has crossed a red line and he has not only shown that he is incapable of ruling but also that some of their ideas of hatred are very disturbing and frightening and Europe should say something.

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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Regardless of anything the national government has done, I don't see how anyone can consider the results legitimate considering the estimated turnout was 42% and the widespread reports that most residents opposed to independence boycotted the referendum.

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, Fez said:

Regardless of anything the national government has done, I don't see how anyone can consider the results legitimate considering the estimated turnout was 42% and the widespread reports that most residents opposed to independence boycotted the referendum.

The turnout is actually around 50% but I agree that the way in which it took place due to the assaults and the confiscation of 700000 votes have not helped to its legitimation, despite of the fact that  International Observers (don't know how many exactly) are saying that it has to be listened to and it is legitimate (due to that after the assaults, everything took place normally).

The residents who were opposed to independence didn't boycott it, in fact, it was the Spanish Government with the help of vioelnce who boycotted it. I know many people who voted No, and I also have to say that I also know people who were about to vote blank or No and changed their vote the same day when they woke up watching the images of the assaults to peaceful people.

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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24 minutes ago, Fez said:

Regardless of anything the national government has done, I don't see how anyone can consider the results legitimate considering the estimated turnout was 42% and the widespread reports that most residents opposed to independence boycotted the referendum.

This seems like an odd take. Boycotting an election shouldn’t affect the results or be rewarded, and we all know that the Spanish government tried to suppress the vote. I don’t know if the independence vote is the right or smart thing to do, but I don’t think we should prevent people from seeking liberty.

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20 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

This seems like an odd take. Boycotting an election shouldn’t affect the results or be rewarded

It's not exactly the standard circumstances an election takes place under though. Choosing not to take part in an election which has been declared illegal by the courts isn't exactly unreasonable if you're opposed to it.

If the Spanish government had let it go ahead and then used a low turnout to say a vote in favour of independence (if that's how it went) lacked validity they probably would have had a solid case. They've pretty effectively thrown away any authority they had on the subject with their heavy handed tactics though.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

This seems like an odd take. Boycotting an election shouldn’t affect the results or be rewarded, and we all know that the Spanish government tried to suppress the vote. I don’t know if the independence vote is the right or smart thing to do, but I don’t think we should prevent people from seeking liberty.

If you feel (and the legal system of your country agrees) that an election is illegitimate, I think it's a completely reasonable response to boycott the election out of a desire to not help convey any legitimacy to it.

And the Spanish government should've just encouraged that kind of behavior rather than give up any potential claim to the moral high ground (and likely alienating at least some its supporters) by resorting to violence and intimidation tactics.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

It's not exactly the standard circumstances an election takes place under though. Choosing not to take part in an election which has been declared illegal by the courts isn't exactly unreasonable if you're opposed to it.

If the Spanish government had let it go ahead and then used a low turnout to say a vote in favour of independence (if that's how it went) lacked validity they probably would have had a solid case. They've pretty effectively thrown away any authority they had on the subject with their heavy handed tactics though.

Eh, I think it is unreasonable. If you strongly oppose the measure then you should do something about it. Not voting is not an acceptable option. Just look how that’s doing for us state side these days. And citing low turnout as an excuse for rejecting a vote is a bad precedent to set.

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