THE PHENOMENON OF SECESSIONIST DEMANDS IN DEMOCRATIC STATES: THE CASE OF CATALONIA COMPARED TO SCOTLAND
The paper analyses the issue of Catalonia’s request to secede from Spain. The first part of the paper deals with the historical development of Catalan demands for autonomy and independence. Thereafter, a more elaborate overview of modern times follows in the comparison of these secessionist demands to those by the Scottish secessionists. The paper provides a systematic review and analysis of Spanish legal regulations, in the first place referring to constitutional law, and other provisions of the national legal order relevant in this context. In addition to analysing whether the Catalan secessionists have the right to self-determination (and secession) under Spanish law, the issues are also analysed whether they are entitled to that right by international and/or EU law. The demands for self-determination and secession outside the colonial context addressed to the central authorities in the modern and democratic multi-ethnic states have become the most demanding and controversial issues in international law and have triggered a great debate among scientists and experts. The phenomenon of secessionist movements in the liberal and economically powerful states thus gives a new dimension to self-determination as a continuous right, invoking the democratic right of the people to choose and vote on the legal, political, economic, and any other future of the area they inhabit. Such examples are exceptional and rare, hence important, because they provide an insight into whether and how secessionists can legalise and legitimise their demands for secession in liberal democracies.
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