Catalonian calls for a referendum on independence have been echoing across Spain for some time and there is now more reason to suspect that the struggling nation could be driven apart by the current financial crisis.
With the nation’s unemployment at a shocking 25 per cent, the population engaging in vehement anti-austerity protests and the overbearing weight of debt to contend with, Spain has been having a tough time and for some regions enough is rapidly becoming enough – as recent elections are beginning to indicate.
The results of the Spanish regional elections are expected to be a key indication of how the government’s austerity policy is faring and the recent vote in Spain’s Basque Country has resulted in a significant win for Nationalist parties.
Although Mariano Rajoy’s centre-right People’s Party retained its total majority in his home region of Galicia, the conservative Basque Nationalist Party scored a comprehensive victory in the Basque regional poll.
In an election considered to be a milestone by industry experts the PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) took 27 seats in the regional parliament.
Its nearest opponent, the coalition of left-wing separatists Euskal Herria Bildu, achieved 21 seats whilst third place was taken with 16 seats by the opposition Socialist Party.
It is now expected that the PNV and Bildu will unite, forming a coalition in order to successfully push for a referendum on independence. Although Inaki Urkullu, leader of the PNV, revealed next to nothing of his parties plans for the future he did announce that ‘A new era has started’ during a post-election rally in Bilbao.
Catalonia has been getting increasingly vocal when it comes to the issue of independence and if the largest regional economy in Spain were to achieve self government it could spell disaster for the nation. If the Basque region also opts for independence that disaster would be greatly exacerbated.
With Catalonia’s regional elections just around the corner this is an additional stress Rajoy’s government could probably do without.
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