Why the Political Deadlock in Catalonia Shows No Sign of Easing

Why the Political Deadlock in Catalonia Shows No Sign of Easing
People wear white masks in support of Catalonian politicians jailed on charges of sedition during a protest in Figures, Spain, April 5, 2018 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

BARCELONA—Catalans now know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object: A lot of noise, but little movement. For the past six months, Catalan separatists and the Spanish government have been deadlocked. The separatists insist on the legitimacy of the independence referendum last October and Catalonia’s right to secede from Spain. The Spanish government is adamant that the referendum was illegal and that the region cannot break away. Senior Catalan activists and politicians have been arrested, charged with inciting rebellion and sedition, while Catalan home rule has been suspended by Madrid.

To restore the region’s autonomy, the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament needs to form a new government. The problem is that all their leaders are either in jail or, in the case of Carles Puigdemont, the last regional president, awaiting possible extradition abroad. Puigdemont is currently in legal limbo in Berlin, since going into self-imposed exile after last year’s referendum.

Both sides are waiting for the other to make the first move: Madrid for the Catalans to form a pliable regional government, and the separatists for Madrid to drop charges against the leaders of their independence movement. Neither is likely to happen. And so six months after the referendum, and four months after regional elections in Catalonia, there is still no breakthrough.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review