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Scottish National Party urges EU to respect Catalan vote

October 10, 2017

The Scottish National Party has urged the Spanish government to "respect" the overwhelming "yes" vote in the Catalan independence referendum. The SNP expressed solidarity with the Catalan people in demonstrations.

Scottish National Party Conference 2017 | Sturgeon
Image: picture alliance/empics/J. Barlow

A unanimously-passed resolution at the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference on Monday called the Catalan referendum earlier this month an "expression of the democratic will of the people of Catalonia" and called on the UN and the EU to resolve the political impasse over the referendum.

The referendum on 1 October was said by the Catalan government to have resulted in a 90-percent vote in favor of independence. But turnout in the referendum, which was previously ruled illegal by Spanish courts, was put at just 43 percent after it was largely boycotted by those who want to remain part of Spain.

Spanish police officers prevent people from entering a polling station in Barcelona on October 1
Spanish police officers prevent people from entering a polling station in Barcelona on October 1Image: picture-alliance/newscom/UPI/A. Garcia

Where Barcelona leads, Edinburgh follows

The SNP's Angus MacNeil hinted that Scotland may be encouraged by the news of the Catalonia independence protests. 

The SNP and other pro-independence parties in Scotland lost a vote to leave the UK in 2014, polling 45 percent against 55 percent who chose to remain. 

"On the Iberian peninsular, of course, we've had Portugal already so I don't see what Madrid is particularly concerned about having Catalonia and Portugal staying in the peninsula with them," MacNeil said.

Following the vote, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "increasingly concerned by images from Catalonia," as Spanish police forced their way into many polling stations and fired rubber bullets at protesters.

During a debate on the motion, SNP lawmaker Joanna Cherry, who was in Catalonia during the vote, said she saw "repression on a scale I never expected to see in a Western European democracy."

Members paid tribute to "the patient, determined and non-violent behavior of the voters of Catalonia" and stressed the party's support for the right to self-determination.

Apology from Madrid

SNP threatens

Alyn Smith, SNP Member in the European Parliament, said Spain would face repercussions for its crackdown.

"There will be police investigations, judicial investigations," he told the French news agency AFP.

"There will be consequences and it is right that we should add our voice to the defense of international law and fundamental personal freedoms."

SNP lawmaker Sandra White said the EU would be "complicit in these attacks on the Spanish people" unless it spoke out.

The French government has already said it would not recognize Catalonia as an independent state and that any such move would mean expulsion from the EU.

Apology from Madrid

jbh/bk (AFP)