Can Catalonia split with Spain? - Pablo Beramendi interviewed for the Council on Foreign Relations

A showdown looms between Spanish authorities and the prosperous northeastern region of Catalonia over a planned October 1 referendum on independence. While some residents of the linguistically and culturally distinctive region have long pushed for secession, the current impasse has its roots in 2010, when a constitutional court overturned an agreement granting the region a degree of autonomy while the central government imposed austerity measures amid economic crisis, says Pablo Beramendi, a political scientist at Duke University.

Voters in Catalonia are divided on the question of independence, but most want the “right to decide,” and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s efforts to block the vote may backfire, Beramendi says. “Given the way the process is unfolding, there might be growing support for a clean break with Spain.”

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