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>> Catalonia's mayors face a grilling. Marc Solsona, mayor of the town of Mollerussa, the first of almost 750 to be questioned by the state prosecutor. That over his backing of a referendum on independence from the rest of the country. The industrial northeastern regions set to vote on October 1st, in a poll the Spanish government calls illegal.
Catalonian nationalists not heating the band, however, saying they have 6,000 ballot boxes hidden and ready to deploy. Police have been given orders to seize anything linked to the referendum, raiding newspaper offices, and printers. Civil servants, including teachers, warned not to participate. But, the Catalan leader says the vote will go ahead.
As Reuters Sonya explains.>> Said that it doesn't matter what the turnout is, it will be declared binding. It doesn't matter whether just three people turn out to vote, it will still be binding, and if he gets a yes vote, he'll declare an independent state within 48 hours.
But Spain actually has got the powers under its Constitution to sack all of the government, and step in, and rule from Madrid.>>
> Are the politicians ready to take risks? Marc Solsona saying he's willing to be punished as long as his constituents can still vote. But it's unlikely that Catalonia will end up as independent with polls showing less than half of the region's 5.5 million voters want self-rule.
Most people in the wealthy region do want the chance to vote on the issue though. The Catalans are getting increasingly impatient with Madrid, in that they won't give them the opportunity to, for instance, have more control over their taxes. My view would be that, probably, this will lead to Catalonia and Madrid eventually sitting down at a table and thrashing out some kind of a deal, whereby they get more autonomy, and not a full blown independence, but more autonomy over their finances.
>> But with October 1st fast approaching it maybe too late to strike a deal before polling day.