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Spain's pressure move Catalonia further from Spain

Staff Writer |
Spain's efforts to prevent Catalans from voting in a referendum on independence Sunday are likely driving a further wedge between the rest of the country and residents of the autonomous region.

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Few Spaniards express confidence in their nation's leadership, but this trust is particularly low among Catalans.

Only about one in five in Catalonia express confidence in their national government and approve of their nation's leadership, compared with about three in 10 Spaniards living in all other parts of the country.

While Spain is deploying thousands of police to the region to try to block the vote, if the vote proceeds this weekend, it will be the second time in three years that Catalans have voted on self-rule.

Catalonia has enjoyed considerable autonomy since the 1975 death of Gen. Francisco Franco, whose 36-year rule forcefully suppressed Catalan culture and language.

However, in 2012, during Spain's banking crisis, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected a request from Catalonia's regional government for a more favorable fiscal agreement.

This action, among other economic and cultural concerns, stoked separatist fires that triggered a November 2014 vote on Catalan independence - an informal, nonbinding referendum in which 80% of the region's electorate voted yes.


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