Mas Trouble In Little Spain As Country Layers Constitutional Crisis Onto Economic Depression

Tyler Durden's picture

Catalonia's exit polls confirm over two-thirds of votes will go to pro-independence parties that will likely push for a referendum to break away from Spain, which the central government will challenge as unconstitutional. The more-populous-than-Denmark region is home to car factories and banks that generate one-fifth of Spain's economic wealth (larger than Portugal's). The incumbent, Artur Mas, has converted to a more radical separatist bias since huge street demonstrations in September showed the will of the people. As Reuters notes, growing Catalan separatism is a huge challenge for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is trying to bring down painfully high borrowing costs by persuading investors of Spain's fiscal and political stability. Critically, the exit polls suggest the dominance of separatist parties will mean a referendum for secession within two years - leaving us asking the simple question: who will buy any Spanish debt, even fully backstopped by the ECB, if there is a real risk that in under two years, 20% of Spanish GDP will simply pick up and leave.



  • *ERC HAS 20-23 SEATS IN EXIT POLL BY TV3 (Separatist)
  • *ICV, which backs referendum, wins 10-12
  • *CUP, which backs independence, wins 5-6



Via Reuters:

Spain's Catalonia region, fed up with the tax demands of cash-strapped Madrid, was expected to elect on Sunday a separatist government that will try to hold a referendum on independence.



"It's time for Catalans to pursue their own nation. When you're in a relationship and you're not getting along you work for mutual respect. We've tried, but Spain hasn't," said Jose Manuel Victoria, 67, who voted for the main pro-independence party.



With more people than Denmark and an economy almost as big as Portugal's, Catalonia has its own language. Like Basques, Catalans see themselves as distinct from the rest of Spain.


Growing Catalan separatism is a huge challenge for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is trying to bring down painfully high borrowing costs by persuading investors of Spain's fiscal and political stability.



Up until recently Mas was a moderate nationalist who had pushed Spain to give Catalonia more self-governing powers. He has followed the popular mood in converting to a more radical separatism, but it is not clear he can hold a referendum legally.


Many Catalans are angry that Rajoy has refused to negotiate a new tax deal with their largely self-governing region. Annually, an estimated 16 billion euros ($21 billion) in taxes paid in Catalonia, about 8 percent of its economic output, is not returned to the region.


Home to car factories and banks that generate one fifth of Spain's economic wealth, ...




After a decade of overspending, Catalonia's debt has been downgraded to junk. Blocked from the bond markets, Mas has had to seek billions of euros in rescue funds from the central government in Madrid, itself fighting to prevent financial meltdown.


But, on the campaign trail, Mas focused on the region's gripes with Madrid. He told supporters he wanted to be the last president of Catalonia within Spain.


Wary that separatism could spread to the Basque Country and beyond, Rajoy said this week that the Catalan election is more important than general elections.



"Don't stay at home (on election day) if you don't want them to kick us out of Spain and out of Europe," she said at a campaign rally this week.





Enthusiasm for independence could ebb if voters think the price is having to leave the European Union, leaving Mas high and dry.


"I have no interest in independence. It's totally irresponsible," said 45-year-old Luis, a Peruvian immigrant and salesman who voted for the PP.


"It means exiting the EU and a drop in Gross National Product... Mas is an economist. He knows this but he isn't saying it. Why?" said Luis, who declined to give his last name.


After the vote Mas will struggle to push conflicting agendas: his promised referendum on independence and his drive to cut Catalonia's high deficit.

The only possible spin by the statists is that there is a possibility that the CIU and ERC will not come to an agreement over a referendum, and that the wealth redistribution from Europe's solvent to its insolvent can continue under the guise of a common currency:

Mas - who converted to separatism after huge street demonstrations in September - is unlikely to win the 68 seats needed for an absolute majority.


He will have to team up with smaller pro-independence groups such as the Republican Left, or ERC, to push ahead with the plebiscite that he promised to voters.

Follow the results live here:

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InfinityZero's picture

Civil War bitchez!

Ghordius's picture

-1 keyboard warmonger
do your own one instead of cheering one of strangers

that is highly unlikely anyway for Catalunia, Flanders and Scotland

flacon's picture

Let the people decide. Looks like they have. Good - and a great big middle finger to Madrid and Brussels. 

Ghordius's picture

Perhaps Madrid but Brussels?

All european separatists want a seat in the Council.

All want their independent countries to be part of the EU.

Scotland might even want to join the EURozone, F and C do not want to leave it.

Those are* results* of the EU project.

Kitler's picture

All european separatists want a seat in the Council.

Don't forget paychecks through Council connections, and jobs for their kids and friends through the Council and business deals and kickbacks through selling influence on the Council...

Ghordius's picture

The Spoils of Politics have many forms...

magpie's picture

So...where will Scotland and Catalonia be in the ECB...hard or soft Euro

old naughty's picture

Heck, Catalonia is not Spain !!!

saturn's picture

Who will NATO bomb next? Spain or Catalunia?

magpie's picture

Depends on the size of the Dollar short squeeze needed ?

Looney's picture

Who will NATO bomb next? Spain or Catalunia?

saTURN, you almost got it right, almooost! I'll give you an ATTABOY (or an ATTAGIRL, if you wish). It is actually CATALUNYA.

(I've just ran my own post through the Google-Translate and the translation reads, "You are an Asshole!").  ;-)

asshoLOONEY   ;-)

bank guy in Brussels's picture

To consider what is or is not 'Spain' - or even 'Catalonia' - is even more complicated. This has been going on for centuries.

With this big wrinkle for Catalan-speaker independence:

Catalan is also the main language in two other big provinces of Spain - Valencia, and the Balearic Islands including Majorca and Ibiza - and oddly enough, the people in those provinces DON'T WANT to be run by their fellow Catalan-speakers in Barcelona, whom they consider to be a bigger pain in the arse than far-away Madrid.

Furthermore, Catalonia has a group of people speaking a different language altogether, in the Val D'Aran, they speak Aranese, a version of the 'Occitan' language spoken in several countries (including Provençal in France) ... Should they have a referendum to split from Catalonia now?

Catalan is already the official language of the adjacent small tax-haven independent nation of Andorra ... no income tax there, like in Monaco ... Instead of 'independence' why not  just transfer-merge with Andorra?

Spain has a number of official languages aside from its main Castilian Spanish. Basque in the Basque region, and they have a big separatist movement too.

Galicia north of Portugal has their language, which is a dialect of Portuguese, and the Galicians aren't so much separatists from Spain as much as some of them think it just makes more sense to merge with Portugal.

So the whole Iberian peninsula has a whole bunch of different languages ... and at one point the whole stew was even one country, when marriage dynasties merged Spain and Portugal hundreds of years ago.

Economics writer Martin Hutchinson has raised an interesting possibility ... The Spanish and Portuguese economies are pretty well matched, so they can both default and leave the euro and have a new 'Ibero' ...

Obviously they need to dump the euro ... and once they have that accomplished, they can just accept they have half a dozen languages in the region and it won't really matter so much whether it's nation or province.

Ghordius's picture

"One to rule them all?" /deep voice
"There can be only one?" /loud
"...just right!" /blond with locks

Pick yours

midtowng's picture

this is a good thing. Democracy doesn't work on a massive scale (one big reason it has failed in America).

It works best on a small scale. Spain should break up, as should the EU.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

As should the states of the USA....  Screw the Kings in DC...


Antifaschistische's picture

The problem flacon, as you know.."the people" do not get to decide anything in our fascist world.   Governmental and Corporate parasites who feed off the productivity of "the people" have the power, and will not let "the people" go, as it would end the parasites financial supply chain.

Most of the worlds problems could be resolved with a reversion to smaller more locally operated governments.  But the parasites are too hungry and will not let this happen.   Certainly not by "vote".  No need to give any history lessons on ZH.  We know there's only one path.

rsi1's picture

the people have decided, ZH has got it wrong, pro separatist parties have even lost power vs 2010 elections  so its not a win in any case for the pro-separatist movement.

ZH is becoming worse than FOX news when reporting some news that do not go with its motto.. 


Read other sources too! (yes a pro Spain/ Anti independence source) (And a catalan Source, more pro independence)



slaughterer's picture

Has Texas left the USA yet?  

Conman's picture

Read texas v white 1869 supreme court ruling. already ruled on basically.

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

But the constitution is dead now. So let's rule again.

EuroInhabitant's picture

Hell no. Mas will not get an absolute majority, so there will be no referendum. Catalonia is a non-problem. What have we got more? Greece, surprise, surprise. Tomorrow they will reach a deal on Greece. So two "problems" being tackled in 24 hours. Bye bye crisis.

EscapeKey's picture

LOl yes because ever rising unpayable debt levels are no problem whatsoever. Smoked any good Keynesian moonweed recently?

Matt's picture

They will reach a deal on Greece to get the debt to 120% of GDP by 2025. This deal will "fix" things for the next 6 months. Rally On!

EuroInhabitant's picture

The nationalists lose seats. No referendum. Bye bye Catalonian "crisis".

Joe A's picture

A coalition would have absolute majority so don't get your hopium up high yet.

EuroInhabitant's picture

A coalition is a hell of a job. Look at Syriza in Greece: kept out of government, no default of Greece, no leaving the euro. Same now for Catalonia.

Joe A's picture

Catalunya is not Greece. And the pro-independence vote is now stronger. MAS will now have to negociate with other pro-independence parties and where there is a will, there is a way. Don't underestimate people's will to selfdetermination. Keep believing in your utopian EU dream. Only 30% of EU citizens trusts the EU according to a EU study.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

EuroInhabitant said:

Look at Syriza in Greece: kept out of government, no default of Greece, no leaving the euro. Same now for Catalonia.

...boring world we live in. </LookingWithAmazement>

Madrid2020's picture

Please facts are not appreciated here.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Smoked any good Keynesian moonweed recently?

Keynesian moonweed?! Good Ghodd, keep away from that shit! It distorts reality worse than angel dust, resulting in a random and unpredictable reversal of perceived cause and effect. It also causes an arrogant sense of omniscience, turning users into bigger assholes than cokeheads. Worst of all, its effects don't wear off; the only known remedy is a massive number of bonghits of Austrian gold.

rsi1's picture

yes! so get ready to sell the news as soon as they announce greece! 

tango's picture

Not exactly sure what planet you are on but the pro-separatists had 87-88 (out of 135).  Mas's party did not win an outright majority but anti-Spain parties won huge.  In fact, the voters deserted Mas for more radical parties because they distrusted him.  It's not as if they are ecstatic over union with Spain.

knukles's picture

The whole thing's coming unglued.
Hooray for the NWO
Order from Chaos (or whatever)

Skateboarder's picture

"We're starving and can't afford the newest iPad. Please give us the ultimate centralized response. We're ready for eugenics, however you want it.

People of the world"

(sent from my iPhone)

blabam's picture

This is one of those rare instances where democracy and freedom do not apply.

CH1's picture

This is one of those rare instances where democracy and freedom do not apply.

Rare??? RARE!!!!?????

DavidC's picture

Things aren't getting any better, are they?


hawk nation's picture

It depends how long you are in physical gold and silver

resurger's picture


Okay, and once they get separated, from where will they get the money!

Oh wait,

Borrow, Rinse , Repeat!

Incubus's picture

the worst scum always sinks to the top.

Conman's picture

The worse the news, the higher the EUR goes which drags the ES with it. Fun ride isnt it?

americanspirit's picture

I suspect that China would be happy to lend an independent Catalonia many many billions in exchange for being able to build a port complex in Barcelona from which they could stalk the markets of Europe.

Debeachesand Jerseyshores's picture

They must be taking a cue from Texas.

magpie's picture

Last time i checked, they too are a Lone Star Republic

magpie's picture

The irony of it is the EU was also conceived as the 'Europe of the regions', which means weakened nation states and even the tolerance of separatism.
One might think that this would be the perfect opportunity for the EU to exert its primacy over 'obsolete' Spain - indeed a fine one were the EU solely a political construct, without a single currency and messy questions of debt and default.

Ghordius's picture

The EU?

No, what you are describing is older than that, and for a while it was called The Concert Of Europe.

This resulted long ago in the neutrality of Switzerland, the BeNeLux split and many other adjustments.

The EU as such it's only a kind of "Treaty Mill", an Agreement Office with a small budget.

Stop thinking the AngloAmerican power structures and it's models are applicable to the Continent. The UK does it all the time, expecting others to look for it's guidance instead of offering partnership.

Remember that the EU (27) is not the EZ (17). Two separate clubs..

magpie's picture

I was pointing out that it was not exactly outside the EUs interest that these kind of movements gain traction (probably more so in the case of Scotland).

As has been mentioned by other posters the main problem after constitutional niceties have been settled would be the (temporary) fiscal exit and the financial re-integration into the Eurozone, against massive resistance by the mother country.

The conflation of both zones has been a staple for the past years, I was never fooled.