Spain, bedeviled by a sagging economy rife with high unemployment rates, massive government debt and failing banks is facing a strong movement for Catalonian independence.
Regional elections that set the table for a Catalonian independence referendum are set for Sunday in Spain and pro-independence candidate Catalan President Artur Mas, who is expected to be re-elected as Catalonia’s top politician, is one of many pro-independence candidates polling high on election eve, according to a euronews.com report.
Speaking to supporters at a campaign rally, Mas said: “Catalonia is one of the oldest nations of Europe and of the world. We are trying to build up a broad majority – a very big and broad majority next Sunday – to build the future of our nation, the future of 7.5 million people of this country.”
On the other side, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party is playing up the disadvantages of separation including an independent Catalonia having to seek reappointment for EU membership.
Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Popular Party President Alicia Sanchez Camacho also appealed
“We ask for a vote for unity, to add, not to substract, to guarantee coexistence in Catalonia and not to divide its population,” said Camacho.
Catalonia, or the Catalonha region, is an autonomous community of Spain, with the official status of a nationality, and is Spain’s wealthiest region; however it is also the most indebted to the central government and has requested a five billion euro bailout.
Nevertheless, many Catalans wish to part ways with Spain and point to their distinct language and culture as reasons to become their own sovereign state.