CATALAN DAY

Majority of Catalans favor independence, says poll ahead of Diada national day

Human chain show of strength beset by political differences among nationalist parties as referendum hangs in balance

A man hangs a "Senyera", the Independentist flag at his balcony in Sant Pere de Torrello, near Barcelona Monday. / JOSEP LAGO (AFP)

There was a boost for pro-sovereignty leaders in Catalonia on the morning of the region’s Diada “national day” as a new poll showed that a majority of Catalans support independence.

The MyWord survey carried out for Cadena Ser radio network revealed that 52 percent of those polled support independence for Catalonia, while only 24 percent said they would vote against that option in a hypothetical referendum.

One year after a massive demonstration in Barcelona breathed new urgency for self-determination in Catalonia, pro-independence forces led by the governing center-right CiU nationalist bloc are organizing a human chain crossing the region to mark this year’s Diada.

This new show of strength had been envisaged as part of the build-up to a sovereignty referendum in 2014, but Catalan premier Artur Mas last week said that the vote would not be held next year unless it had full legal backing. There is no indication that the government in Madrid, Congress or the Spanish courts would countenance such a referendum being binding.

Mas has instead suggested holding a poll in 2016 at the end of the regional legislature, but his parliamentary partners from the leftist ERC continue to demand that the initial right-to-decide timetable be kept to.

The Cadena Ser poll said that eight out of 10 Catalans agreed with the holding of a referendum on independence from Spain in Catalonia or any other of the country’s 17 regions. Almost 60 percent said they would vote in such a poll, even if it had been declared unconstitutional.

Apart from the apparent collision course with the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Mas also faces division within his own political formation. The leader of the Unió half of the CiU coalition, Josep Antoni Duran Lleida, has announced that he will not be taking part in today´s Via Catalana human chain, because of a trip to Panama and unspecified “other reasons.”

Duran was present alongside Mas at this morning´s ceremony in Barcelona, where the traditional floral tribute was laid at the tomb of Catalan hero Rafael Casanova, but said that “Unió does not take attendance registers or make signals.” Last year Duran, in a wheelchair at the time as he recuperated from an operation, was booed and insulted by demonstrators in the streets of Barcelona.

 

FE DE ERRORES

The human chain is planned to cross the region from the north to the south and not encircle Catalonia, as was stated in the initial version of this story.

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