ERC target new independence referendum needing 55% yes vote to pass

Governing Catalan party wants to "negotiate" agreed vote with Spain that needs at least 50% participation to be valid

An official document pertaining to the 2017 independence referendum held in Catalonia
An official document pertaining to the 2017 independence referendum held in Catalonia / Guillem Roset
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 12, 2022 06:10 PM

December 12, 2022 08:26 PM

Esquerra Republicana have a new independence referendum in their sights, and to make it a reality, Catalonia's governing party has defined a new set of parameters by which they want to see the vote legitimized. 

ERC's proposal is to "negotiate" an agreed referendum with Spain, one that would be legitimate with at least 50% participation, and one that would pass with a minimum of 55% of votes in favor of independence. 


Esquerra has put together a document detailing its referendum proposal, which will be debated and put to a vote at the party's national congress on January 28

The question on the ballot should be a "clear question, like the one on October 1, [2017]," the party says, with voting open to all residents of Catalonia aged 16 and over, and those non-residents who have the right to vote in the elections to the Catalan parliament. 

Party leader Oriol Junqueras wants the ongoing dialogue table between the Catalan and Spanish executives to begin addressing the issue of self-determination, thereby beginning a "second phase" of negotiations. 

Catalan referendum, via Montenegro, Quebec and Scotland 

The proposals from Esquerra borrow ideas from other internationally recognized self-determination referendums. 

Up until now, Catalonia's governing party held the position that '50% + 1 vote' was an acceptable majority in an independence referendum. The new parameters of 55% 'yes' votes on a 50% turnout are the same used in Montenegro when it voted to separate from Serbia. Crucially, a referendum under those specific conditions was endorsed by the European Union

Turnout in Catalonia's 2017 independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by Spain, was 43%

If the conditions outlined were met, ERC says that a "good faith negotiation process" could be launched between the Catalan and Spanish governments, with European and international mediation, in order to reach an agreement that would allow the creation of an internationally recognized independent Catalan republic. 

Here, the party is following a model outlined by the Canadian Supreme Court on the Quebec referendum. 

As for lowering the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds their say, that would bring Catalonia into line with Scotland and its 2014 referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. 

"Second phase" of Catalonia-Spain talks 

Negotiations between Esquerra and the Spanish government resulted in the removal of sedition from Spain's criminal code and reform to the crime of misuse of public funds

While Esquerra spokesperson Marta Vilalta stressed on Monday that the party was not finished with "dejudicialization", it was now "obvious" that the focus of talks should shift to self-determination

The document to be presented at the party conference in the new year says that, in the "second phase" of the resolution of the independence conflict, the party defends the need to articulate during talks the social majority in Catalonia in favor of a referendum, an 80% consensus.  

In addition, Esquerra insists that it will not give up "any democratic tool" that allows Catalonia's "collective future" to be decided.