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Catalans Who Did Not Vote (More Than Half) Ask: What Now?

Catalan leaders declared that 90 percent of voters supported separation, a result that made it clear that almost the only people motivated to vote were the ones who wanted independence.

Yet, like Ms. Risco and her daughter, more than half of Catalonia’s eligible voters did not vote or brave the police who used truncheons and rubber bullets to enforce the central government’s order to stop a referendum it considered illegal.

The result has left not only Spain, but Catalonia itself divided.

A few doors away from Ms. Risco, at a shop that sold preserved hocks of pork, Noemi Aguro, 38, was unsympathetic to those people who did not vote, saying they had no choice now but to accept the results.

“They didn’t vote, they had the chance, they shouldn’t complain now,” Ms. Aguro said.

Economists generally agree that Catalonia would be economically viable as an independent country, but they differ on the impact on jobs, barriers to trade and the spending needs of the new state.

The separatist government would have to negotiate thorny issues with Spain, such as how to apportion Spain’s debt, now equivalent to just over 100 percent of its gross domestic product.

Xavier Sala-i-Martín, an economist and professor at Columbia University who has spearheaded the separatist drive, contends that a unilateral departure of Catalonia could leave Spain solely responsible for its debt.

Catalan’s separatist government, which published a “white book” outlining plans for an independent state in 2014, said Catalonia would assume a portion of the debt if Spain agreed to transfer state-owned infrastructure and other assets to the separatist government.

The separatist government proposes replacing Spain’s army with its own, but its calculations, like almost every other, have been challenged by economists as too optimistic. The authors Josep Borrell and Joan Llorach, who have written about Catalonia, note that the separatists also never take into account what would be Catalonia’s annual NATO membership fee of 3 billion euros, or roughly $ 3.5 billion.

Source: NYT > World

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