[JURIST] Around 2 million people in Spain’s Catalonia region voted in a mock independence poll for Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Results released on Monday showed that 1.6 million voters favored breaking away from Spain to create their own nation. However, with 5.4 million people eligible to vote, less than half were represented at the polls. Originally the vote was to be an official referendum on independence, but Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended [JURIST report] the vote amid the central government’s challenge that the referendum was unconstitutional. Last week the court also suspended the mock vote [JURIST report], but the Catalan government decided to hold the informal vote despite the court’s ruling. Spanish state prosecutors said they are investigating whether the Catalan government broke the law by holding the vote.
Catalonia independence [JURIST archive] has been a contentious topic in recent years concerning issues of economic, political and cultural differences between Catalonia and the Spanish government. The initial November referendum planned to ask voters if they want Catalonia to become a state, and, in the case of an affirmative response, if they want this state to be independent. In September Catalan president Artur Mas [official website, in Catalan] signed a decree [JURIST report] calling for a referendum on secession and independence from Spain, inciting confrontation from Spain’s central government. In February Spain’s parliament rejected [JURIST report] Catalonia’s proposed November referendum which led to the vote’s suspension.