NEW YORK TIMES. Catalan Leader Boldly Grasps a Separatist Lever 5oct2012
Catalan Leader Boldly Grasps a Separatist Lever
By RAPHAEL MINDER
BARCELONA, Spain — ARTUR MAS, the leader of Catalonia, has a clear message for Madrid:
He is serious about his threat to let the people of Spain’s most economically powerful region
decide for themselves in a referendum whether they should remain a part of Spain.
In fact, he said in an interview this week, he would personally vote for independence if the
opportunity arose. “Our ideal is to be part of the United States of Europe,” he said.
That kind of posturing has thrust Mr. Mas, 56, to the forefront of Spanish politics and made
Catalonia the biggest domestic headache for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is facing
troubles on all sides as he tries to satisfy demands from the European Union to straighten out
Spain’s economy and from Spain’s heavily indebted regions, including Catalonia.
The question now for Mr. Rajoy, and for all of Spain, is just how far Mr. Mas, a once relatively
obscure politician who was elected regional president two years ago, is willing to go in posing
what may be the most serious challenge to a sovereign entity in Europe since the implosion of
Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
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