The Catalan Independence Referendum: Conflicting Claims and International Responses

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what will be the likely fallout from the Catalan referendum, if it indeed goes ahead? Should we expect independence to be declared within 48 hours in case of a Yes vote, as announced by the president of Catalonia, and what will be
the likely international response to such a declaration? In order to answer these questions, we need to examine the arguments made on both sides, as well the divisions that we find both within Catalonia and among the Spanish political
parties, and analyze the international responses to date. Lessons can moreover be drawn from other self-determination conflicts: have they made similar claims and how have they been received internationally?
This paper first analyses the evolution of the demands made by the Catalan nationalist parties: what spurred the change from autonomy to independence, and how does this compare with other self-determination movements?
The paper then examines the arguments made for and against the referendum and for and against Catalan independence. This section will again draw on comparative evidence: how do these arguments compare with the ones
we find in other self-determination conflicts? The international responses will be then analyzed. Finally, the likely outcomes of the referendum will be discussed: what are the likely implications of a No vote and what can we expect
to happen if the outcome is a Yes? The paper argues that the lack of central-government acceptance of the referendum is likely to prove crucial; it has
affected the dynamics on both sides of the debate and makes it unlikely that a declaration of independence will gain widespread international recognition. However, recognition is ultimately a political decision, and the turnout in the
referendum and the reactions of the Spanish Government could be potentially important factors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Catalan Independence Referendum
Subtitle of host publicationAn Assessment of the Process of Self-Determination
Place of PublicationMontreal
PublisherIRAI - Institut de recherche sur l’autodétermination des peuples et les indépendances nationales
ISBN (Electronic)9782981701633
ISBN (Print) 97829817016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

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