Nationalisms collide in Catalonia

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont at protest march
Oct. 27, 2017: Catalan President Carles Puigdemont attends a march demanding the release of two separatist leaders arrested on sedition charges (source: dpa)
  • Catalan autonomy has reinforced pro-independence sentiment for 40 years
  • Miscalculations by Spanish and Catalan leaders have escalated the conflict
  • How local institutions respond may decide the tug-of-war between Madrid and Barcelona

On October 10, the president of Catalonia’s autonomous government, Mr. Carles Puigdemont, along with a majority in the Catalan Parliament, signed a document declaring the region an independent and sovereign state.

The Catalan UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) came as no surprise to the region’s 7.5 million citizens, nor for 40 million Spaniards. It had been expected by the supporters of Mr. Puigdemont and his “independentista” coalition, and by the Madrid government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of Spain’s conservative People’s Party.

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