[JURIST] The Cortes Generales [official website, in Spanish], the bicameral parliament of Spain, on Thursday rejected [official press release, in Spanish] a proposed referendum that would have allowed the Catalonia region [official website] to vote on whether the autonomous community should become an independent state or remain a part of Spain. The referendum, scheduled for November 9, 2014 was voted down [AP report] by 272 deputies from the country’s primary political parties, with 43 votes from Catalonian nationalist groups and other parties in favor. According to The President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Artur Mas [official website, in Catalan] the referendum will contain [press release] a single two part question: “Do you want Catalonia to become a State?” and in case of an affirmative response, “Do you want this State to be independent?” Mas has been a strong critic [Vanguardia report, in Spanish] of the national government in Madrid and has stated that the referendum will go on [Reuters report] despite attempts from the Spanish government to block it.
The fight for Catalan independence [World Affairs backgrounder] has run concurrently with a recent push for Scottish independence from the UK. In November the Scottish Parliament [official website] unanimously approved a bill [JURIST report] to hold a Scottish independence referendum. The bill outlines the referendum rules [text, PDF]. Both independence opponents and supporters in parliament supported the bill, which will permit a 16-week campaign period and impose financial limits on campaigners to create a level playing field. If Scotland became independent it would have to reapply for European Union (EU) [official website] membership, according to a report released [JURIST report] in February by the HM Treasury [official website], the UK’s economic and finance ministry.