Monday, July 12, 2010

Democratic Stability in Iraq: Spain’s Fissiparous Tendencies

More than four months hav gone by since the March 7, 2010, election in Iraq and no sign of a government is in place. Moreover, there is speculation that Moqtada al-Sadr could be the kingmaker of the new government.

More than a million people took to the streets in Barcelona on July 11, 2011, to protest a Spanish court ruling. While it granted Catalonia greater rights in the status of its language and other powers of self-rule, it stated that the constitution recognizes Spain as the only country, denying the Catalans the status of nation. Catalonia is home to 7 million people out of Spain’s 47 million, but represents a greater 25% of its GDP. This display of Catalan nationality with the waving of Catalan flags took place on the day of Spain’s quest for the World Cup.

The autonomous regions of Basque and Galicia have also been seeking much greater autonomy. Many Basques, in particular, have resorted to violence in the quest for their independence.

Spain has been governed as a unified country since the Moors were defeated in 1492 and subsequently expelled. But that has not resulted in effectual unity. Spain today remains on the brink of a potential dissolution into four constituent parts. It may only be a matter of time until full regional autonomy results in independence.

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