• Spain's news in English

Catalonia praised for 'calm' independence poll

George Mills/The Local/AFP · 10 Nov 2014, 12:26

Published: 10 Nov 2014 12:26 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A delegation of eight MEPs from Belgium, France, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK praised the high level of  participation in the unsanctioned poll "despite the challenges" faced.

Voter turnout out on Sunday was over 30 percent, with over two million people casting their ballot in a symbolic poll which went ahead despite repeated attempts from Spain's central government in Madrid to block the ballot. Over 80 percent of those voters said they were in favour of a split from Spain.

The head of the delegation of observers, the UK's Ian Duncan, noted in a report that the vote "took place in a calm and open manner where no one was coerced or intimidated."

Voting on Sunday was generally peaceful, but a group of people tried to destroy ballot boxes in the town of Girona, with two being arrested. In another incident, some 50 right-wing protesters burned a Catalan independence 'estelada' flag outside the government delegation in Barcelona.

In their report, international observers criticized the lack of an official census for the poll, while the low number of polling stations also came under fire.

They also expressed concerns about the lack of privacy at polling stations when it came to voting.

The observers went on to note they hoped Catalans could vote on this issue in the future without the "challenges" faced on Sunday. 

Catalan president Artur Mas has described Sunday's vote as "a complete success" and "a lesson in democracy" while Spain's new justice minister described the exercise as "sterile" and "useless".  

Story continues below…

On Monday, the Secretary-General of Spain's ruling Popular Party María Dolores de Cospedal said the vote had been "on the margins of legality" and that the results lacked validity. She added the government in Madrid would act against the vote, but did not specify how. 

Mas has said his government would now push to hold an official referendum and would seek international support to help convince the Spanish government to let it go ahead.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

George Mills/The Local/AFP (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available