Timeline

The following timeline explains in a nutshell how we got here. It allows us to understand the evolution of this movement, in which Catalan civil society is the one pushing political leaders to organise a referendum.

31 October 2003

31 October 2003

After 25 years of unsatisfactory interpretations of the 1979 Statute and a continued failure to implement it properly, Catalan political parties propose to set out definitively the political status of Catalonia within Spain.

In the run up to the regional elections, the main Catalan political parties propose to reform the 1979 Statute of Autonomy with the aim of finally accommodating Catalonia within a pluralistic Spain.

16 November 2003

16 November 2003

Parties supporting a new Statute of Autonomy obtain 88% of seats and the popular vote in the Catalan elections.

During the campaign, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party and future Prime Minister of Spain, commits himself to supporting the new Statute which will be drafted by the Parliament of Catalonia.

30 September 2005

30 September 2005

The Parliament of Catalonia passes its proposal for a new Statute of Autonomy.

The Parliament of Catalonia approves (with the support of 120 MPs out of 135) and sends to Madrid a proposal to reform the 1979 Statue of Autonomy recognising Catalonia as a nation, preventing Madrid’s interference in devolved powers, and giving Catalonia full control over a transparent and rational financial arrangement. The text has to be validated by the Spanish Parliament and confirmed by the Catalan people in a referendum before it will enter into force.

1 February 2006

1 February 2006

The Spanish People’s Party starts a campaign against the new Catalan Statute.

Mariano Rajoy’s party challenges the law from the opposition bench before the Spanish Constitutional Court, which, surprisingly, decides to hear the case. Four million signatures are collected throughout the rest of Spain against the Statute.

10 May 2006

10 May 2006

The Spanish Parliament approves a watered-down version of the Statute.

The two chambers of the Spanish Parliament discuss and water down the text proposed by the Catalan Parliament. Prime Minister Zapatero disappoints many Catalans as he cannot honour his promise to pass the text as originally drafted by the Catalan Parliament.

18 June 2006

18 June 2006

The resulting Statute is ratified by the people of Catalonia via a referendum.

Although it is a watered-down version, 73.9% of Catalans ratify the new Statute. Afterwards, the Spanish King Juan Carlos I signs it and it enters into force as a basic Spanish law. For the first time, the Spanish State recognises Catalonia as a “nation”.

28 June 2010

28 June 2010

Almost four years after it became law, the Spanish Constitutional Court rewrites 14 articles of the Catalan Statute and reinterprets 27 others.

After four years of deliberations, the Constitutional Court of Spain, by a 6 to 4 majority of its members, rewrites and changes the interpretation of 41 articles – mainly those relating to language, justice and fiscal policy – thus watering down even further the main tool for Catalonia’s self-rule. It also deletes the reference to Catalonia as a “nation”.

10 July 2010

10 July 2010

As a response to the Court’s sentence, a huge protest under the slogan ‘We are a nation. We decide!’ is organized.

A million citizens take to the streets of Barcelona with a clear message: the relationship between Catalonia and Spain cannot be decided by ten judges behind closed doors. However, the principal Spanish parties fail to propose how to restore the Statute to that which has already been agreed by both the Catalan and Spanish Parliaments and ratified by the people of Catalonia.

20 November 2011

20 November 2011

General elections in Spain result in a new absolute majority for the People’s Party.

The new government’s agenda is clear: recentralisation of devolved powers and an aggressive stance against Catalonia’s self-rule, culture and language.

11 September 2012

11 September 2012

On Catalonia’s National Day, 1.5 million people attend a demonstration in Barcelona with ‘Catalonia: Next State in Europe’ as its slogan.

As no reaction comes from the political parties in Spain to the concerns of Catalan society, the civic movement shifts from a defence of Catalonia’s self-rule to an openly pro-independence stance.

20 September 2012

20 September 2012

Another “No” from Madrid.

As Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy refuses to offer any specific proposals in political or budgetary terms for Catalonia, Catalan President Artur Mas and several Catalan parties agree to hold regional elections in order to see whether there has been a considerable change in the citizens’ perception of the option of independence, as the demonstration in Barcelona seemed to show.

25 November 2012

25 November 2012

Elections are held in Catalonia. The result is that 80% of MPs in the new Parliament of Catalonia support the right to self-determination.

The new Catalan Parliament has 107 out of 135 MPs supporting a self-determination referendum as the best way to find out what the majority of Catalans think about independence and as an effective way to channel the massive bottom-up pro-independence movement through the institutions.

13 March 2013

13 March 2013

A vast majority (77%) of the Catalan Parliament requests the Catalan President to start negotiations with the Spanish Government so as to hold a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.

The request is supported by 104 (out of 135) MPs, including those belonging to the ruling coalition and four opposition parties. Only two parties reject it (PP & C’s).

11 September 2013

11 September 2013

About 2 million Catalans hold hands to form a human chain covering 400 km from the north to the south of Catalonia calling for independence.

The Catalan National Assembly organizes the protest inspired by 1989’s Baltic Way. Smaller human chains are also organized in more than 100 cities worldwide.

16 January 2014

16 January 2014

The Parliament of Catalonia makes a formal petition asking the Spanish Government to transfer the necessary powers to hold the referendum (as Westminster did with Scotland).

As in the UK, the Parliament of Catalonia asks the Spanish Government to transfer the legal powers to hold a referendum. The Catalan political institutions have in fact now formally requested this referendum as many as 18 times.

8 April 2014

8 April 2014

The Spanish Parliament votes against transferring referendum powers to Catalonia.

The two largest Spanish parties (PP and PSOE) coincide in their No vote. 86% of the Spanish Parliament votes against the referendum, with only 13.5% in favour.

11 September 2014

11 September 2014

1.8 million people take to the streets of Barcelona to celebrate Catalonia’s National Day and ask to vote on 9 November.

In colours representing the Catalan flag, 1.8 million citizens form an 11-km-long giant V-shape, standing for ‘Vote’, along two of Barcelona’s main streets.

19 September 2014

19 September 2014

The Catalan Parliament approves the Law on Non-Binding Popular Consultations with 79% of MPs in favour.

Since referenda can only be called by the central government and it refuses to do so, the Catalan Parliament passes a regional law which should enable the regional government to organize a less formal vote, a so-called “popular consultation”.

27 September 2014

27 September 2014

The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signs the decree calling a popular consultation on 9 November.

Catalan citizens will be able to vote for the status quo, for a new accommodation within Spain (subject to a proposal coming from Madrid) or for independence. Registered foreigners and youngsters from 16 to 18 are also able to vote.

29 September 2014

29 September 2014

The Spanish Government urges the Constitutional Court to temporarily suspend Catalonia’s popular consultation.

In an urgent and non-scheduled plenary meeting, the Constitutional Court accepts the Spanish Government’s appeal and decides to temporarily suspend the non-binding consultation law and the decree calling for the 9 November vote.

4 October 2014

4 October 2014

97% of the municipalities of Catalonia (920 out of 947) pass motions in favour of the popular consultation.

The Mayors of these municipalities meet in the Government building in Barcelona to show their support and commitment to the 9 November consultation.

14 October 2014

14 October 2014

Due to the Constitutional Court’s suspension of the scheduled consultation, President Mas announces a new vote through a ‘public participatory process’.

Once the “popular consultation” is banned, plan B consists in organizing a “public participation process”, a tool already foreseen in the Catalan Statute to let citizens have a say in public affairs by the casting of a vote.

4 November 2014

4 November 2014

The Spanish Constitutional Court suspends the public participatory process five days before the date of the event.

As the Court has blocked all possible ways to officially ask citizens for their point of view regarding Catalonia’s relationship with Spain, the Government of Catalonia decides to ask several NGOs to take the responsibility for organizing this democratic exercise.

9 November 2014

9 November 2014

Despite the impediments of the Spanish government and the state’s judicial bodies, over 2.3 million Catalans vote in the participatory process: 80.76% vote for independence, 4.54% for the status quo and 10.07% for a “devo-max” or “third way solution”.

The vote is eventually made possible thanks to the involvement of 30,000 volunteers. International observers consider it a successful vote under challenging circumstances and President Mas says it is the last step before the definitive legal vote.

12 November 2014

12 November 2014

Three days after the 9 November informal vote, Spanish PM Rajoy makes an official statement on the subject. He says that “it was not a democratic vote, but an act of political propaganda and a useless farce”.

He also considers the 9 November vote a “failure of the Catalan independence project, since two-thirds of the eligible voters didn’t participate”.

21 November 2014

21 November 2014

The Spanish State Prosecutor files a complaint and seeks criminal charges against President Mas, as well as the Catalan Vice-President and the Minister of Education, because they “did not prevent” the 9 November vote.

These three Catalan political representatives are charged with disobedience, perverting the course of justice, misuse of public funds and abuse of power. They could be judged, suspended and imprisoned because they did not stop the democratic exercise.

25 November 2014

25 November 2014

President Artur Mas defends the right of the Catalan people to hold a legally-binding vote on independence.

He is ready to call early regional elections which should become a de facto plebiscite on independence if the Spanish Government insists on blocking all other alternatives.

29 November 2014

29 November 2014

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy visits Barcelona for the first time since the 9 November vote and strongly criticizes Catalonia’s self-determination plans in a People’s Party meeting.

Rajoy ignores the offer of a meeting made by the Catalan president but repeats that he is willing to discuss everything except “Spain’s unity”.

14 January 2015

14 January 2015

Catalonia will have a de facto independence referendum via early elections on 27 September.

The announcement follows an agreement between the two largest political parties in Catalonia (CiU and ERC) and representatives from the main civil society organizations supporting self-determination. The Spanish Government has blocked all the other alternatives for holding a specific vote so far.

3 August 2015

3 August 2015

Catalan President officially calls elections for 27 September.

Though President Mas accepts that a parliamentary election is not the best way to ask people about independence, he understands that it is the only way to let citizens express their stance on the issue in a legal vote (Spanish institutions could only block it by suspending Catalonia’s self-rule).

11 September 2015

11 September 2015

Nearly 2 million people take to the streets of Barcelona to rally for independence.

A new massive demonstration takes place in Barcelona, weeks before the election.

 

27 September 2015

27 September 2015

With a record turnout of 74.95%, pro-independence parties obtain an absolute majority in Catalonia’s Parliamentary election with 72 out of 135 seats.

The results legitimate the Catalan Parliament to move forwards working towards an independent Catalan state. When it comes to votes, 47.8% of voters supported pro-independence parties, and 39.1% unionist ones. 13% voted for parties supporting self-determination but with no clear stance on independence.

10 January 2016

10 January 2016

Carles Puigdemont instated as the 130th president of Catalonia with the support of 70 out of 135 MPs.

President Artur Mas steps aside to facilitate the constitution of a new pro-independence government. The new government is committed to leading Catalonia towards independence in a year and a half.

11 September 2016

11 September 2016

One million people ask for independence in five cities on Catalonia’s National Day.

It’s the fifth year in a row that huge pacific demonstrations take place. As in the past, there is no political answer from the Spanish Government, that keeps ignoring the demand for an agreed and binding referendum.

13 November 2016

13 November 2016

80,000 people defend Catalan institutions at rally against Spain’s use of the courts to stop the self-determination process.

More than 400 elected officials are being judicially prosecuted for political reasons, including the President of the Parliament of Catalonia, Carme Forcadell, and former President of Catalonia, Artur Mas.

13 March 2017

13 March 2017

Former president Artur Mas is banned from public office for two years over 2014 symbolic vote on independence.

The Spanish judiciary has opened over 400 legal proceedings against Catalan elected officials.

22 May 2017

22 May 2017

Catalan Government holds a conference in Madrid to defend again an agreement on the referendum

Less than 24 hours later, Rajoy’s answer to Catalonia with PSOE’s consent: there will be no referendum negotiation

9 June 2017

9 June 2017

Catalan President announces self-determination referendum for October 1

The Catalan people will be called to answer the question “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a Republic?”


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