Friday, September 12, 2008

Basque Vote Is Ruled Out

The decision announced yesterday by the Constitutional Court to prohibit the Basque government's planned “popular consultation” has not surprised anyone, not even the promoters of the initiative. The membership of the court is decided in a similar way to that of the Consejo General del Poder Judicial and there was never any real possibility of it finding against the national government on this issue. The stage is now set for what promises to be a lengthy and hard fought election campaign in the Basque Country, this election is expected to take place next spring. The nationalist led administration there is likely to make the “right to decide” the central issue of their campaign in what is going to be a close fought battle with the Basque wing of the PSOE.

The court's judgement doesn't accept the distinction the Basque government tried to argue between a non binding popular consultation and a referendum; the latter can only be convoked with the agreement of the national government. That may solve the issue in the Basque case, but it promises to cause problems in other parts of Spain as the new autonomy statutes for Cataluña and Andalucia both contemplate the possibility of being able to hold popular consultations. The Constitutional Court still hasn't ruled on the Catalan statute, for some reason it always seems to come last on their list of priorities, but logic suggests that they will not accept for Cataluña what they haven't been able to accept for the Basques.

10 comments:

David said...

Always the same - if the Catalans get it, we Andaluzs have to have it too. Like spoilt toddlers.

Graeme said...

Organise a referendum on it David, you might not have the chance for much longer.

Lenox said...

The Basques can argue that racially they are different from the Spanish. The Catalans can't do the same (can they?).
Not that I'm in favour of Basque separatism but that it's not always right to consider the different strands of nacionalismos as being the same.
Now, on the subject of Andalucía... ¡Viva Almería Libre!

Graeme said...

I don't think most European nationalisms have that much to do with race Lenox, it's more to do with linguistic and cultural heritage. Racially, the Spanish are a mixture anyway.

Tom said...

Graeme's answer is correct, though I believe that some Catalans would claim to be racially different to Spaniards, many of whom clearly have more 'Arabic' DNA than 'Visigoth' DNA. Naturally, this is probably rubbish. All concepts of racial purity or superiority are completely subjective and based on very little actual science. In many ways, anyone who claims racial purity should probably be sympathised with, given that they would clearly be inferior to those of us with of a more mongrel make up.

Also, I'm not sure I understand what's the problem with Andalusia and Catalonia sharing similar Estatutos de Autonomia. Surely that makes more sense than all the comunidades having different deals with Madrid?

Graeme said...

I think the idea that different regions can have different levels of autonomy was built into the system from the beginning so that Cataluña and the Basque Country could have more extensive powers whilst other regions could choose.

John said...

Tom, I have never, once, heard any Catalan claim any kind of racial difference between themselves and Spaniards, let alone any kind of superiority resulting from such a difference. Even if there were those who believed this at some stage, which I doubt, the fact that Catalunya is now made up of people from, and descended from, so many places would have made this already-erroneous assertion even more absurd.

Tom said...

@John - no more or less absurd than in much of the Basque country, surely? Any racial claim of any sort is inherently stupid.

John said...

Tom, I don't think anyone in the Basque country has made such claims for many decades.

Different origins of people do of course exist, though; it is any over-emphasis on these, or in particular any claim of superiority, which causes problems.

Graeme said...

Blood groups come behind genetics now, and according to an internationally recognised source (Wikipedia), that places the Basques as being rather closer to the Spanish than some of them might like to be.