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    A woman gestures as others wave the estelada or Catalonia independence flags during a protest in Barcelona, Spain Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

    Catalonian Referendum: 'Losing Barcelona Could Be a Big Problem for Spain'

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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)
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    On Sunday, Catalonia is expected to hold a referendum. Radio Sputnik discussed Catalonia's upcoming referendum on independence from Spain with Dr. Oriol Bartomeus, a professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

    This referendum “is a last step of a long run, which started in 2010 when the most important Catalan law that was made together with the Catalan Parliament and Spanish Parliament just passed through the Supreme Court and it was cut by the judge and that created the feeling of anger in Catalonia because it gave them a sense that Spain doesn’t care about what Catalonia wants,” Bartomeus said.

    He said that this feeling has been growing in the hearts of Catalonians since then. 

    According to the poll, released by the National newspaper, if the Spanish government were to boycott the referendum, 83 percent of voters would cast their ballots for independence, with turnout reaching 62 percent. Therefore, the total number of voters who would say "yes" to independence would reach 2.7 million people, while the number of those who would vote against might amount to 527,000 people.

    Nevertheless, if the referendum is approved by the Spanish government, nearly 66 percent of voters will vote for independence and 32 percent will vote against it, according to the survey. In this scenario, the turnout would reach 77 percent.

    According to Bartomeus, the “majority feeling” is that over 75 percent of people think that there should be a referendum to decide on a new agreement between Catalonia and Spain. 

    “According to these people, this new agreement must contain stronger self-governance,” the analyst said.

    Talking about who among the Catalonians wants complete independence from Spain, Bartomeus said that these people are mainly Catalan speakers who were born in Catalonia and whose parents were also born there.

    The analyst also spoke about the monetary side of the issue and how Barcelona is doing well financially as it represents 20 percent of Spain’s riches, but as the pro-independence public highlights, it receives less from Spain then it gives.

    “Losing Barcelona could be a big problem for Spain economically. But the main reason for Rajoy to fight the independence is political,” Bartomeus said.

    The Spanish federal government has filed a complaint with the country's Constitutional Court over the Catalan government and Parliament approving the law on the independence vote. The court has taken the complaint under review, outlawing the plebiscite.

    Previous opinion polls show that Catalonia’s independence is supported by 41 percent of its residents, with 49 percent against it, and while as much as 80 percent of Catalans are in favor of the referendum, most of them believe that the vote should be agreed upon with the central government in Madrid.

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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

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    economy, interview, independence, voters, referendum, Mariano Rajoy, Catalonia, Spain
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