SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- A prominent Catalan politician has warned Spain that the wealthy region could drive the central government to default on its debts if it refuses to discuss the region’s vote on independence.
“If the Spanish state does not negotiate, that will make it impossible for the Catalan economy to shoulder the debt and Spain will enter into default,” Oriol Junqueras, the leader of the Catalan Republican Left Party, said in an interview with Spanish daily, El Pais, on Saturday.
Junqueras made the remarks just days before a planned referendum slated to be held on November 9.
According to the Spanish central bank’s figures for the second quarter of 2014, Catalonia’s debt is about 62 billion euros ($78 billion), which amounts to some six percent of Spain’s total debt.
Catalonia’s President Artur Mas is struggling to organize the symbolic independence vote on whether Catalonia should break away from the rest of the European country, while Madrid has announced plans to challenge the vote.
Spain’s national government said on Friday that it was launching an appeal at the Constitutional Court against the upcoming vote.
Mas was quick to announce that the regional Catalan government would take legal action against the Spanish government.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argues that Catalonia’s independence bid disrespects “democratic conditions.”
If the symbolic referendum is held, a “Yes” vote will not automatically lead to the secession of the region but only gives the Catalan president the mandate to negotiate independence with the Spanish administration.
The wealthy northeastern region of Spain has a population of 7.6 million people, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the country’s economy, and has been seeking independence for years.