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In Spain, Catalans Are Divided Over Independence Vote As Referendum Approaches

The categorical retard of Batea, a city of about 2,000 residents in Spain’s northeast segment of Catalonia. The mayor opposes Sunday’s autonomy referendum and has not given accede for voting to take place in metropolitan buildings.

Lauren Frayer for NPR


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Lauren Frayer for NPR

The categorical retard of Batea, a city of about 2,000 residents in Spain’s northeast segment of Catalonia. The mayor opposes Sunday’s autonomy referendum and has not given accede for voting to take place in metropolitan buildings.

Lauren Frayer for NPR

For 28 years, Joaquim Paladella has been mayor of his hometown of Batea, a flattering sandstone encampment of 2,000 people, nestled in vineyards west of Barcelona.

It’s a place with some-more tractors than cars. There’s so many farmwork, Batea has roughly full employment. The jobless rate is 3 percent, one of a lowest in Spain.

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Whenever there are elections for local, informal and inhabitant offices, Paladella sets adult list boxes in a groundwork of a city hall. People line adult outside.

But not this entrance Sunday.

Paladella is one of about 200 mayors — out of some-more than 900 opposite Spain’s northeast Catalonia segment — who have refused to extend accede to reason an Oct. 1 autonomy referendum in metropolitan buildings.

In Catalonia, Thousands Protest Spanish Attempts To Stop Referendum Vote

The Spanish executive supervision considers a opinion unconstitutional and has systematic military to retard voting. Separatists who order a informal supervision vouch to go forward with a opinion anyway — and announce autonomy from Spain within 48 hours, if a “yes” votes win.

Batea’s mayor opposes a opinion on opposite grounds. He says it’s not a correct use of open funds. And he suggests — usually half-joking — that if Catalonia becomes eccentric from Spain, he’ll reason a referendum for Batea to leave Catalonia and join a adjacent Spanish segment of Aragon.

“I only don’t see how autonomy would assistance my village,” Paladella says in an talk during his city gymnasium office. “When Catalan informal leaders call a separatist dwindle and run for independence, they’re not doing a genuine work of government. we am a Catalan, though I’m deeply discontented with a instruction my segment is taking.”

He takes NPR on a debate of Batea, interlude to revisit a internal nursing home, that has a prolonged watchful list. The building has been stretched to residence 30 some-more residents, though Paladella is watchful for a informal supervision to approve appropriation for people to get off a watchful list and pierce in. Because a supervision is rapt with a autonomy push, there’s been no answer, Paladella says.

Joan Vaqué (right) and Andres Luchan (left) work during a La Fou winery in Batea. Vaqué says he is disturbed an eccentric Catalonia could face trade barriers if it is forced out of a European Union.

Lauren Frayer for NPR


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Lauren Frayer for NPR

Joan Vaqué (right) and Andres Luchan (left) work during a La Fou winery in Batea. Vaqué says he is disturbed an eccentric Catalonia could face trade barriers if it is forced out of a European Union.

Lauren Frayer for NPR

“It would be so many improved to spend a income here,” says Maria Pilar, a nurse. “Invest in expanding this trickery rather than spending millions of euros on stupid dreams of autonomy from Spain.”

While a infancy of Catalans contend they would like a event to opinion on independence, opinion polls uncover they’re roughly divided over either to mangle divided and form a new country. Support for staying in Spain had been growing in new years, notwithstanding roughly daily autonomy rallies in Barcelona, a Catalan capital.

“I would use a difference demobilized majority, rather than a wordless majority,” says Catalan domestic scientist Berta Barbet. “Basically, they’re not on a streets since they’re fortifying a standing quo. This referendum won’t be famous by those who have not voted. If a Catalan supervision decides to go ahead, even with low turnout, they know they’ll have problems. That’s not a approach to scrupulously legitimize your decisions.”

Spain says it’s bootleg for Catalans to opinion Sunday. Anti-independence parties are revelation electorate to stay home. For some, it’s a dilemma: Vote in a referendum we don’t trust in or skip it — and you’re not represented.

In Batea’s city gymnasium lobby, there’s an vaunt on internal wines, and folk songs about booze play from speakers in a corner. This city has 28 wineries. Winemaking is a biggest internal industry, contributing a many internal jobs.

But Batea’s booze attention could humour if Catalonia gains autonomy from Spain. An eccentric Catalonia would expected be forced out of a European Union, during slightest temporarily. Trade barriers would go up.

“We don’t know what will occur to commerce,” says Joan Vaqué, who works during a family-owned La Fou winery. “We hear a lot about Brexit, how that change will impact British business. we don’t wish to risk a same thing here. For business owners, autonomy is a installed issue.”

As he arranges booze bottles on a shelf, Vaqué points to a label. In large letters, it says “Product of Spain.”

“Evidently, that’s something we’d have to change,” he says, laughing.