Two senior Spanish officials quoted anonymously in the media have declared the planned October 1 referendum in Catalonia totally discredited, saying it is “game over” and no one will take the vote seriously anyhow.
The officials cited seized ballot papers and claimed Catalonia doesn’t have sufficient election material left. They did say that officials may ultimately decide to allow a “mock vote” to take place, but it won’t count.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis accused the Catalans of being Nazis for even trying to vote, declaring “referendums are a weapon of choice of dictators.”
The officials went on to say that neither North Korea nor Venezuela would recognize independent Catalonia even if the referendum went well, adding it wouldn’t help the pro-independence movement to win the referendum.
All of this appears to be wishful thinking on the part of the Spanish government, as police crackdowns within Catalonia have made the population more determined than ever to vote. International recognition of the vote was always going to be difficult, but likewise doesn’t mean the vote itself is meaningless.
If anything, Spain’s desperation to discredit the vote, and the extent to which that has failed, is likely to further energize the Catalan public for years to come, and solidify in the minds of many that Catalonia is not really part of Spain.