Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will seek support on the upcoming Catalonian independence vote when he meets Donald Trump today.
Madrid has decried the plebiscite as unconstitutional and has moved to stop it, arresting several Catalonian government officials and seizing election materials. Sending an additional 4,000 police officers, the Spanish government has assumed control of the region’s security. Regardless, Carles Puigdemont, head of the Catalan regional government, has insisted the referendum will occur.
Catalonia is Spain’s wealthiest region and contributes roughly a fifth of the country’s $1.3 trillion GDP. Its secession would be a blow for Spain’s ailing economy. If the vote occurs, it is likely that those who show up to the polls will be inclined to support independence.
While there have been questions of Madrid invoking Article 155 of the constitution, which allows the national government to strip Catalonia of its self-governance, it is unlikely that this will be used just to stop the vote; should secessionist violence break-out, this might change.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.