Relevant international media are these days warning Spanish President Mariano Rajoy not to follow its current path of rejection as regards the November 9th independence vote in Catalonia. The Spanish government challenged eralier this week a Catalan decree calling the non-binding referendum, and this subsequently resulted in the Constitutional Court halting the vote. Several European and American newspapers and magazines believe this stance to be a mistake:
Bloomberg View | First Scotland, Now Spain Like the Scots, the Catalans want a referendum on independence. Unlike the British, the Spaniards aren’t inclined to let them have it. This is a mistake, and Spain’s leaders need to show some unwonted statesmanship by making a vote possible — even as they campaign for union.
Rajoy should also be open to constitutional reform that would decentralize powers and include a procedure to allow Spain’s regions to vote on secession.
Given the chance, Catalans might well conclude, as Scots did, that independence is not worth the risk and pain. To make Catalans confident in this conclusion, however, they need a robust debate. Up to now, Rajoy and Spain’s government have refused even to discuss the possibility of independence. Now is the moment for them to make the case for union.
Another article expands on economic issues. After blaming Spain for a “parasitic relationship” with Catalonia, it advocates voting as the appropriate solution to this political conflict:
Harvard Political Review | Catalonia in Contention The very foundation of liberal democracy is the citizenry’s right to abandon a government that fails to serve their interests and construct another, more effective one. There are few better contemporary examples of such a situation than Catalonia’s one-sided economic relationship with the central Spanish government. Whether they decide to stay or to leave, therefore, Catalonians should at least be given the power to choose their own fate.
Meanwhile, an Italian media outlet summarizes Spain’s centralist understanding of government as one of the main reasons why Rajoy is blocking any Catalan attempt to vote on independence:
Affari Internazionali | After Scotland, Catalonia [Italian] Spain does not self-define as a united kingdom of nations, but as a very centralist state, the son of a Bourbon conception that Franco dictatorship strengthened by making it its own ideology and that the 1978 Constitution, despite the territorial configuration in autonomous communities, has defended. [The whole issue has now] become a matter of state importance for Spain. As such, it should be solved through political wisdom which, at this moment, the Spanish government does not show to have.
Finally, one of Mexico’s main newspapers has joined the debate too by sidelining with Catalan demands for the vote to be allowed:
La Jornada | The Spanish State against Catalonia [Spanish] Even if unintentionally, Madrid’s government has shown the anti-democratic character of the current Constitution and of the Spanish State. Furthermore, it has contrasted its own intolerance and lack of openness with Scotland’s recent example of civility.
La Moncloa has as well shown its autocratic face, opposed to basic collective rights such as the right to self-determination of peoples, and has placed itself to be rejected by one of the most dynamic and solid nationalities in the Iberian peninsula. Not a good perspective for the Spanish government.