well, yes, but does it de facto answer to catalans, or is it more of a client body of Madrid ?
come to think of it, I never got to figure that out when I was over there
Spanish is divided in autonomies
which means that they self-govern (midway between the USA, federal; and Portugal, unitary-centralized), and all the political personalities and organs of each autonomy are chosen by means of internal elections. This is so because Franco stopped the project of the Generalitat
in 1939 when the Republic died, so during the Transition to democracy in the 1970s it came to fruition at last. It would have been unfair to grant just
Catalonia and the Basque Country (and Galicia) the privileges, so the autonomy was given to everyone.
In Catalonia the internal party in power since the rebirth democracy has (almost?) always been the nationalist party (Convergència i Unió
), and it's far from being a puppet from Madrid, it's the very nationalist movement in power. In other autonomies, such as mine, for example, it is typical to find in power only one of two: the PP or the PSOE (center-right party and socialist party, respectively). Right now almost all of Spain is blue, including the Central Government.
If Catalonia declares itself independent, wouldn't all hell break loose?
It could be a hefty campaign point for both the ETA (which doesn't really campaign) and Quebecois and Scottish seperatists.
I'm very skeptical that it will happen, less of all now, with an economic crisis and a right-wing government.
It's interesting to note that Catalonia already declared itself independent in 1931, constituting the 'Catalan Republic'
, but the rest of Spanish Republicans persuaded them to pospone that and in the end they were given the Generalitat
, something similar to what they have now, that consists in almost total political independence save for having no army, no self-defense and no external politics independent from the State's.