The Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia, which is located in the northeastern most area of Spain, has announced that they will once again hold an Independence Referendum. The region is made up of the four provinces of Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Barcelona. Spain and Catalonia have a long, complicated history, as well as a language difference since the native language of Catalonians is Catalan. Also, what potential impact could this have on America?

An independent Catalonia?

Last Friday, the regional head and President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, announced that the region will hold a referendum on October 1st.

The referendum will be on independence from Spain, with the exact question for voters being, "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?" This will now lead to months of conflict between Catalonia and Spain's central government, which has stated that such a vote is illegal and is not allowed to happen. Puigdemont said that all efforts to work with Span's central government on the wording of the question or a date failed, leaving Catalonia with no choice but to act independently.

What can Spain do to stop this?

Under Spain's constitution, any referendums regarding sovereignty must be done on a national scale, not a regional one. Under Article 155 of Spain's Constitution, the central government has the authority to intercede itself in how Catalonia's regional government is being run.

This means they can force them to drop the vote, either by suspending the government's authority or sending in the police, but these are viewed as tactics of last resort. Many examiners believe that the battler between the two sides will end instead with regional elections in Catalonia.

How could this affect America?

Even though Catalonia's referendum will likely garner high support, as their last attempt in 2014 got 80.76% to vote 'yes', the United States can't take sides.

Spain is a close ally and the U.S. can't support Catalonia as it could cause ramifications elsewhere. If America were to come out in support, this could cause a domino effect of other country's doing the same until Spain is pressured into letting Catalonia become independent.

This could then set the precedent that a majority referendum overrides the laws of a central government, giving Russia ammunition over its 2014 referendum in Crimea.

It could also affect the Kurds referendum later this year in Iraq. Closer to home this could affect the recent statehood referendum that Puerto Rico just held. If the U.S. back Catalonia against Spain's wishes, Puerto Ricans could argue they should become a state since the majority voted in support of it, even if Congress denies them.