BARCELONA, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — Most residents of Catalonia wish to take part in an independence poll but Spanish authorities are doing everything possible to prevent this from happening, Elena Jimenez, a board member of Omnium Cultural, one of the foremost associations advocating Catalan independence, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"According to some polls, up to 80 percent of Catalan residents and 90 percent of municipalities wish for a full independence referendum. The Spanish government abuses its power by prohibiting to ask the people for their opinion, even in the current format, when it is not a referendum, but a "process of civic participation". The problem is not the law, but the lack of political will," Jimenez said.
The majority of Catalans are united in their wish to "democratically determine their future" regardless of their stance on Catalan independence, she added.
The situation in Catalonia differs from that in Scotland and Quebec because of the "anti-democratic stance" of Spain's central authorities, the activist noted. "All possible means have been used to try and organize a referendum and all of these were rejected by the Spanish government, for political reasons and not on the basis of law," she said.
According to Jimenez, one of the main drivers behind the Catalan independence movement is Spain's troubled economy.
"To continue being a part of Spain in the current situation is the worst thing for Catalonia, including from an economical point of view. The budget deficit, lack of public investment or inability to implement economic politics that meet the needs of Catalonia are sufficient reasons to secede from Spain," she said.
An independent Catalonia will be able to keep its place in the European Union as it "complies with all the requirements to be a EU member," Jimenez stated. "In addition, it will be a donor, and not a help recipient. I think that the other EU countries will also benefit from us staying in the union," she added.
Jimenez stressed, however, that there is "life outside the EU" and that the question of whether a potentially independent Catalonia's should remain in the union is "up to the people of Catalonia to decide".
On September 27, Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree scheduling the region's independence referendum for November 9. The Spanish government announced that it would block the motion by appealing to the Constitutional Court. On September 29, the court suspended the referendum, declaring it illegal.
Mas then stated that the voting in November will not be carried out as an official referendum, but rather as a questionnaire to find out public opinion. However, this was also blocked by the court.
Calalonia has stated that it is to carry out the voting despite central government's protests.