Catalonia Still Up For Referendum Despite Scotland ‘No’ Vote

It's highly doubtful that Catalan nationalists will reject independence despite Scotland’s "No" vote during the referendum, experts say.

MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - It's highly doubtful that Catalan nationalists will reject independence despite Scotland’s "No" vote during the referendum, experts say.

"What happened in Scotland and the United Kingdom is not a setback for us because what we really want in Catalonia is to have the chance to vote, the same possibility," said Catalonia's President Artur Mas, as cited by the Associated Press.

Mas emphasized that Scotland "has shown the way to others," but "the Catalan process continues."

Marc Hooghe, a political science professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium, stresses that even though the failure of Scotland's Yes campaign has disappointed other erstwhile EU secessionists, this "does not mean the end of nationalist aspirations."

"There is no decisive outcome at all. You might compare [it] with a soccer game [that] ends in a draw, and we go to extra time. But the nationalists have missed their once in a lifetime opportunity ... the Scots could have led the way for other regions," he said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Catalans in Spain, the Flemish in Belgium and proponents of "Repubblica Veneta" in Italy are unlikely to "lay down their arms" any time soon.

Although Madrid's authorities have already announced that the Catalan referendum would be considered illegal, Artur Mas and his followers are preparing to hold the vote on November 9, 2014.

"My main commitment is to... organize the referendum and let the Catalan people vote. If they think in Madrid that by using legal frameworks they can stop the will of the Catalan people, they are wrong," Mas underscores, according to the BBC.

It's worth mentioning that in contrast to the Scottish vote, Catalonia's referendum would not lead to separation: during the referendum, Catalans will vote on whether they approve of secession. If the majority votes Yes, Artur Mas will request the political mandate "to negotiate a path toward independence," the Associated Press clarifies. 

As Catalonia is one of the richest and most industrialized regions of the country, its secession would take a heavy toll on Spain's economy, which is already suffering from a financial crisis.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has praised the Scottish decision to stay in the UK.

"The Scottish have avoided serious economic, social, institutional and political consequences. They have chosen the most favorable option for everyone; for themselves, for all of Britain and for the rest of Europe," he said, as cited by the Telegraph.

According to a regional government survey, about 45 percent of Catalans hail independence, 23 percent hope to preserve Catalonia's current autonomy status and 20 percent want to be a part of the federal state, the media outlet reports.

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