Although the referendum was not binding, it was very important. First, because Spain’s laws do not recognize Catalonia’s self-determination right; and second, because it was the first time in history that thousand of people in Catalonia were able to fill in a ballot that allowed them to freely decide whether they wanted their country to be independent.
The referendum in Arenys de Munt also showed the world the darker side of the Spanish state and its transition to democracy. The Spanish State attorney charged the town hall for having approved a motion of support to the referendum, and the judge banned the use of a municipal public room to hold the referendum. It had to be held in a private room. On the contrary, a demonstration organized by the fascist party Falange, commanded by the dictator Franco until his death, was authorized in the same day of the poll. During the campaign, it was also discovered that the State attorney had been a candidate of this fascist party in a 1998 election.
More than 160 towns will hold referendums on the 13th December 2009 on the same terms of Arenys de Munt’s consultation. Each town holding a referendum has formed a local platform where members of political parties, NGO’s and local villagers with no membership are working hard to achieve good results in their poll.
The nationwide coordination uses the website www.referendumindependencia.cat, provides logistic and technical support and campaign materials, and organizes promotional events alongside the country. The 13th December referendum is considered a first step towards a large-scale referendum backed by the Catalan Parliament.