The 9N2014 Vote
On 9 November 2014, 2,305,290 Catalans cast their vote to express their opinion on whether Catalonia should be an independent State or not. Despite the Catalan Government’s intention to hold a binding referendum similar to the ones in Quebec and Scotland, the vote ends up taking the form of a citizen participatory process (similar to a non-binding opinion poll) due to the firm refusal of the Spanish Government to accept such a referendum.
Catalans were called to the polls to answer a two-part question which read
“Do you want Catalonia to be a State?”
“If so, do you want Catalonia to be an independent State?”
9 November 2014
In November 2012, parliamentary elections were held in Catalonia. Political parties in favour of a referendum received almost 80% of votes cast which gave them 107 out of the 135 Members of Parliament.
On 12th December 2013, the Government of Catalonia and 6 political parties reached an agreement on the date of the referendum and the exact wording of the question. The date for the referendum on independence was set for Sunday 9th November 2014.
Faced with the impossibility of using the electoral census, as the Spanish state would not allow this, all citizens over the age of 16 with an identity card certifying they reside in Catalonia were called to participate in the process. Citizens born outside of Catalonia but residing here were also included. Catalans living abroad also had the chance to vote at 20 polling stations worldwide.
From the joint application of the principles of rule of law and democracy – enshrined in the Spanish Constitution and international and European Union law –, there are up to five different legal ways for the referendum to be held. The present discussion, however, is more a political than a legal one and some of these ways have been directly excluded by the Spanish Government.
Other legal routes have been recently debated. In January 2014, the Parliament of Catalonia made a formal petition to the Spanish Government to transfer powers on holding a referendum under Article 150.2 of the Spanish Constitution, just like Westminster did with Scotland. But the Spanish Parliament rejected this petition, in a vote on 8th April 2014.
The next step was for the Catalan Parliament to pass a new regional law on public consultations, as permitted by in the current Statute of Autonomy, in order to ask the people of Catalonia about the future of their political status.
The Spanish Constitutional Court accepted the Spanish Government’s appeal and on 29 September 2014 decided to temporarily suspend the non-binding consultation law and the decree calling for the 9 November vote which had been signed by President Mas two days before. Due to the Constitutional Court’s suspension, a new vote was arranged through what is known as a non-binding public participatory process and it finally took place on 9 November 2014.
Consequences of the different answers to the 2-part question
A majority of negative votes would imply that the citizens of Catalonia are mainly in accordance with the current status quo.
If this is the main result, it would mean that the majority of Catalans desire a form of Catalan state within Spain.
If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum are a double “Yes”, it would express the will of the people of Catalonia to have their own independent State.
Despite the threats formulated by the Spanish government and state judicial bodies and the challenging circumstances in which the vote took place, a total of 2,305,290 Catalans cast their vote, 35.81% of those who were eligible to do so. From all voters, 80.76% voted in favour of independence, 4.54% against and 10.7% in favour of a non-independent state (the federal solution).
You can see the 9N results in detail here.