Catalans have voted for independence in a referendum that holds no official sway but has enormous significance. Now Catalonia needs to decide where to turn next. The referendum, held on November 9, was promoted by a coalition of forces, backed by the Catalan government, that argue that Catalonia has the “right to decide” whether it should be independent. About 2.2 million people voted in what has been called a symbolic referendum. A significant 80.7% backed total independence. Between 10% and 11% wished Catalonia to federate with Spain and 5% supported the status quo. This was understandably seen as a success by the Catalan government and has strengthened the standing of its president, Artur Mas.
The turnout was comparable to the number of people who participated in the recent European elections in the region. That said, it was only about 36% of the total census and a long way off the 69% of the census who turned out to vote in 2012 for the Catalan government election.
Encouraged by the parties opposed to the referendum, the vast majority of those who favour either the constitutional status quo or more moderate reform simply did not vote. It was, after all, a referendum that was to have no tangible outcome and was opposed by the Spanish state. So while the turnout was impressive, the result also indicates that separatists would not necessarily get an easy ride from the “no” camp if a real referendum were to take place.
Full Article: Where next for Catalonia after its unofficial referendum?.