The Spanish region of Catalonia is set to hold a referendum on independence on October 1. About 1.6 million people live in Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, which is a major tourist destination. Sunday's vote will be the region's second referendum on independence in three years. The previous ballot, a non-binding vote in November 2014, returned an 80 percent result in favour of an independent Catalan state. However, less than half of the 5.4 million eligible voters participated.
Then, the pro-independence bloc, which enjoys a wafer-thin majority (short of the two-thirds required to amend the Statute of Autonomy), passed these laws riding roughshod over Catalonia's parliamentary rules, its own Statute and the rights of opposition MPs, in a grotesque late-night plenary, against the warnings of the lawyers of the Catalan Parliament and ignoring the Council of Statutory Guarantees (binding under Catalan law). The anti-independence opposition bloc left the session in protest and did not vote. The disconnection laws and the referendum were declared null and void by the Spanish Constitutional Court. This is pretty much what happened yesterday. The secessionist bloc, again on the basis of their parallel legislation and a very disputed referendum on October 1st, tabled a resolution to proclaim the "Catalan Republic", thus moving forward with a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).