25November2017

Home Editorial CATALAN AND KURDISTAN REFERENDUM DRAMA

CATALAN AND KURDISTAN REFERENDUM DRAMA

 Two referendums, one in Catalonia and one in Kurdistan, were carried out within a short time. Both end up with results that are not much different, without recognition from other countries. The Spanish Supreme Court declared the Catalan referendum illegal, so the Spanish Government finally implemented article 155 of the Constitution. That is, giving the Central Government in Madrid power to take over the local autonomy government in Catalonia. This was done after the Madrid ultimatum to the Catalan leaders was ignored by  declaring Catalan independence on October27. Madrid then  dissolved the autonomous government of Catalonia.

More or less the same thing also  happened in Kurdistan. The central Iraqi government, rejected the result of   referendum which was followed  by more than 70% of Kurdish population, amounting  to nearly 8.5 million. Over 90% of voters answered “yes” to independence. These results infuriated Baghdad. In addition, Kurdish-populated countries such as Turkey and Iran, are opposed to the referendum.

Catalan leaders under President Carles Puigdemont face grave charges of insurrection with a penalty of up to 30 years. Belgium, one of the EU member states hinted at opening up a chance for asylum for Puigdemont.

It is slightly different in the  case of  President Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani. Despite popular support, Barzani did not have the support of the opposition in the autonomous government of Kurdistan. The Gorran Party or the Movement of Change opposed the referendum. Barzani decided to resign from the leadership of the autonomous region of Kurdistan as of November 1, 2017 after reigning for 12 years. Turkey and opponents of the referendum welcomed Barzani's resignation.

The electorate's energetic referendum ended in absence of recognition from other countries. Indonesia does not recognize Catalan separation from Spain. Referendum proved to be more than just choosing "Yes" and "No" for a decision. The political process that drains the energy can also be a factor in determining the continuation of the referendum. It seems that the remaining option is to utilize the autonomy that has been given, as much as possible for the prosperity of the people of autonomous regions.

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