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Catalan independence

The referendum vote is Sunday:

So what happens next? After the dust settles from Sunday's elections, widely forecast to return a pro-independence majority to the regional parliament, where does Catalonia go?

Angels Folch, a national co-ordinator of the hugely effective Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC), the grassroots association that organised September's 1.5 million-strong independence march, is fairly sure how things will pan out.

"We are confident of the outcome – independence," says Folch, a retired primary school teacher. "We have talked at length and in detail with all the main political parties in the regional parliament except the People's party [of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy], which refused. ...

Folch believes the new parliament could have the legitimacy to declare independence as it stands, since two-thirds of the parties set to be elected are standing on platforms pledging support for self-determination. But if not, parliament can be dissolved again and new elections called on the explicit issue of independence.

"Then that new parliament will vote and declare independence," Folch says. "There would probably also be a follow-up referendum, a plebiscite, maybe two or three years later, allowing the people to say that yes, this is what they wanted."

The timetable for all this is quite confined. "It cannot take too long," Folch says. "It will have to be done step by step, but it must happen fast – I think within the next 24 months. And once it has started it cannot stop."

Her confidence is not based on nothing. The ANC, formally launched in March, is the end-product of an impressive grassroots campaign born of a dawning conviction, since the mid-1990s, that "the idea that Spain is a true federal democracy, in which all the nationalities' rights are respected, is a joke.

"It's actually a democratic facade hiding a fundamentally imperialist structure. There is no real Spanish state – there are a series of nations that Castile conquered, and called Spain."

Quebec next... And after Quebec, Vermont? Cascadia? Jesusland?

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