Catalonia, a region of northeastern Spain, will declare immediate independence if voters approve a referendum in October.
The autonomous area best known for the city of Barcelona is controlled by those seeking to forge a new nation separate from Spain.
“If the majority of votes are for creating a Catalan republic, obviously independence will have to be declared immediately,” said Gabriela Serra, a member of the independence coalition governing Catalonia.
Catalonia has always had its own distinctive culture and language (Catalan) – and sovereign nations are defined by their homogenous identities.
The region was once a principality with its own laws and customs that flourished until power over the Iberian peninsula was centralized by the Spanish crown.
But to gain independence again, Catalonia must overcome several challenges since the upcoming referendum was not approved by Spain.
Without Madrid’s help, the independence coalition will need to create a commission to provide the ballot boxes and oversee the election – all while preventing loyalist saboteurs from rigging the vote.
Spain – and likely the EU by extension – doesn’t want an independent Catalonia and right now voters are split on the issue, and it’s easy for loyalists to steal an election when it’s that close.
“Madrid has remained steadfast in its opposition to such a vote, considering it a threat to Spain’s unity, and this time is no different,” reported France 24.