It seems there will be a unilateral proclamation. I don’t think Spain will accept this. Can Spain avoid this politically?

Stating the referendum was illegal seems to have been ineffective. Is it within the reach of the government to do this?

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    Which law are you referring to? The Spanish Constitution? The European Union? The European Convention on Human Rights? The UN Charter? Customary international law? All of these impose different and potentially conflicting obligations on the Spanish government. Some could be broken, but there would be consequences for doing so. (Also, Spain is a kingdom, not a republic.) Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 7:48
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    Apparently there's a clause in the Spanish constitution by which they can revoke the autonomy of Catalonia... Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:36
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    Personally, for the sake of all involved, I think the Spanish government should propose a new binding referendum for Catalonia. I'm not convinced that the Yes field is the majority. In fact I think the Yes votes in the last referendum were so high because of the authoritarian stance of the central government. This is a comment, not an answer so I'll risk sharing a perspective. Rajoy and his cabinet are part of the problem. Not only they threatened to keep Scotland out of the UE but they made a pass at Gibraltar. These are strong nationalistic tendencies and his political capital is spent.
    – armatita
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:39
  • The title asks one question and the body asks a different one. Are you interested in political approachs to forestall Puigdemont or the Parlament making a UDI, or legal reactions after UDI? Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 18:56
  • I was expecting to see the way the Spain government it is going to proceed in the case of a unilateral independence statement. More to your saying legal reactions after UDI.
    – riccs_0x
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 19:10

4 Answers 4


At the moment Catalonia is ruled by its own Catalan government that has autonomy over this region, autonomy that was granted time ago by the Spanish government. That means that now they rule in lots of aspect of it but always under the Spanish law.

Catalonia is an Autonomous Community within the Kingdom of Spain...
...The Statute of Autonomy gives the Generalitat of Catalonia the powers which enable it to carry out the functions of self-government. These can be exclusive, concurrent and shared with the Spanish State or executives.[9] The Generalitat holds jurisdiction in various matters of culture, education, health, justice, environment, communications, transportation, commerce, public safety and local governments. Catalonia has its own police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, although the Spanish government keep agents in the region for matters relating to border control, terrorism and immigration....
...Most of the justice system is administered by Spanish judicial institutions. The legal system is uniform throughout Spain, with the exception of so-called "civil law", which is administered separately within Catalonia*

In case of proclaming the independence, the Catalan government is breaking the law and then the Spanish govern and justice can act against that. They can remove this Catalan autonomy, so the Catalan government will lose their powers and the Spanish government will take its place as direct government.

Of course, the Catalan government could not accept that and still govern in catalonia, but then the Spanish government could enforce the law (similar as what happened in the referendum day).

That could lead to detentions, protest and even fights between the Catalan and Spansih police. From this point it will depend in the willingness of each side to achieve what they want.

One important factor is that the Catalan government does not have at the moment the international support and therefore the Spanish government will not have preasure and could enforce the law as strong as they need. If catalonia had this international support (for example, they did a valid referendum and the "Yes" won and EU accepts it) then the Spanish government will face more problems to not lose catalonia.

Anyways, all of this is never sure and can change form day to day


  • "therefore the Spanish government will not have preasure". You presumably mean "pressure", but even so, I'm not sure what you mean here. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 9:27
  • @FaheemMitha Yeah, it is pressure. And if you read you can see that I am talking about an international pressure. Not so difficult to guess ;)
    – Ivan
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 9:47

The Spanish constitution does not allow any region to become independent. For it to be legal would require a change of the constitution. If Catalonia declares themselves independent it is just a matter how much violence Spain is willing to use.

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    They don´t need to use violence if they proclaim independence. The support and credibility is under the spanish government. If catalan government proclaims independence they will be a coup that everyone will want to stop. Then the matter is how much violence want to use Catalonia to show the world that they want the independence even if that leads to war
    – Ivan
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:08
  • Unless resistence is pacific, like on 1-O
    – Whimusical
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 0:17

Legally speaking, the central government can take direct control of Cataluna and put the government of Cataluna under arrest.

Ultimately they can send the army. Depending on popular support, it could cause a Civil War.

They can also negotiate and play the appeasement card. The Central government could gave some privileges in exchange for staying inside Spain. So both sides could claim victory.

  • a civil war need 2 sides. Catalonia has no army and their people have a good life level and are 'peace people', smart dealers that sell their products mainly to Spain, so a civil war is not possible. Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 9:05
  • Their products are 60% sold out of the country
    – Whimusical
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 0:16

They can do many things as other answers show, but don't have to do anything, because is not legal and don't have any legal value. The constitutional jury can revoke in days, as other laws outside their jurisdiction that the Catalonian government has passed before.

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