Catalan self-determination referendum, 2014

a) Do you want Catalonia to become a State? (Yes/No);
If the answer is in the affirmative:
b) Do you want this State to be independent? (Yes/No).

Referendum results by district where saturation of colour represents the strength of vote. 'Yes-Yes' is represented in green. Dark represents >75%, light <75%. Turnout is not taken into account.
Location Catalonia, Spain
Date 9 November 2014 (2014-11-09)
Yes - Yes
Yes - No
Yes - blank
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Location of Catalonia in Spain (green) and Europe.

The citizen participation process on the political future of Catalonia[1] was a non-binding vote on the political future of Catalonia that was held by the Government of Catalonia on 9 November 2014. While also known as the Catalan independence referendum,[2][3][4][5] the vote was rebranded as a "participation process" by the Government of Catalonia, after a "non-referendum popular consultation" on the same topic and for the same date had been suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain.[6]

The ballot papers carried two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to become a State?" and "Do you want this State to be independent?" The second question could only be answered by those who had answered Yes to the first one.[7] The Catalan government gave notice on 10 November, the day after voting, that 2,305,290 votes had been cast overall,[8] but it did not provide a percentage figure for the turnout. Estimates for the turnout as published by the news media ranged from 37.0%, as given in El País,[9][10][11] to 41.6% as stated by BBC News.[12] 80.8% of the cast votes supported the Yes-Yes option, 10.1% the Yes-No, 4.5% the No option.

Minors aged 16 and 17, and also all non-Spanish residents, were allowed to vote, which in a referendum held according to Spanish law would not have been possible. [13][14]

Holding a referendum about the "political future of Catalonia" in 2014 was one of the items of the governance agreement ratified by Artur Mas from Convergence and Union (CiU) and Oriol Junqueras from Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) on 18 December 2012,[15][16][17][18] that allowed Artur Mas to be voted in as President of the Generalitat of Catalonia for a second term.

On 19 September 2014, the Catalan parliament approved a call for a referendum on independence.[19] Eight days later Artur Mas announced that the vote was to be held on 9 November 2014.[20] The same day the Spanish government announced that it would block the effort by appealing to the Constitutional Court of Spain.[21] The Court decided to hear the Spanish government's case on 29 September 2014, and provisionally suspended the vote.[22] The Catalan Government subsequently announced the "temporary suspension" of the referendum campaign.[23]

On 14 October, Artur Mas proposed a "process of citizen participation" as an alternative to the original referendum.[24] The Spanish government announced that it would also block this effort by appealing to the Constitutional Court, which decided to hear the Spanish government's case on 4 November 2014, and provisionally suspended the vote. The Catalan Government, however, pushed forward with the "citizen participation" process, in defiance of the Constitutional Court,[25] and voting took place as planned on 9 November 2014.




Unofficial Catalan independence referendums

In 2009 and 2011 unofficial referendums took place in hundreds of Catalan towns as one of the many actions included in the independentist-wing-parties' platforms; in the referendums the pro-independence option won an overwhelming majority of the votes cast, although the participation rate was very low.

Demonstrations in Barcelona

In 2010 and 2012 different demonstrations took place in Barcelona. The first one took place on 10 July 2010. It featured a Catalan regionalist ideological leadership. The second one on 11 September 2012 was openly in favor of Catalan independence and had as a slogan "Catalonia, next state in Europe". As a consequence of this second demonstration, the Rt. Hon. Artur Mas, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia at that time, called a snap election, and the "Agreement for Freedom" was negotiated between Artur Mas (CiU "Conservativel local party) and Oriol Junqueras (ERC, Republican and socialistic-style left party).

Free Catalan Territories

Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant, in purchasing power standard (PPS), by NUTS 2 regions, 2010 (1) (% of the EU-27 average, EU-27 = 100), Europe Union.

Also, during 2012, dozens of Catalan towns declared themselves Free Catalan Territory stating that "the Spanish legislation and regulations have effect only in Spain, so this town will wait for new legislation and regulation from the Catalan Government and the Parliament of Catalonia."

Resolution of the Catalan Parliament for Holding an Independence Referendum

The Catalan independence referendum is planned to take place during the tenth legislature of the Parliament of Catalonia. According to a resolution adopted by the Parliament of Catalonia on 27 September 2012:

The Parliament of Catalonia confirms the need for the people of Catalonia to be able to freely and democratically determine their collective future and urges the government to hold a referendum during the following legislature.[28]

The resolution was adopted after the general policy debate. It received 84 favourable votes, 21 against and 25 abstentions.[29] The President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, declared in a speech to Parliament that it was time for the people of Catalonia to exercise the right of self-determination.[30]


Declaration of Sovereignty

Results of the votes for the "Declaration of sovereignty" at the Catalan Parliament, on 23 January 2013

On 23 January 2013 the Parliament of Catalonia adopted by 85 favourable votes, 41 against, and 2 abstentions the "Declaration of Sovereignty and of the Right to Decide of the Catalan People".[31][32][33] It states that "The people of Catalonia have – by reason of democratic legitimacy – the character of a sovereign political and legal entity." Five Socialist MPs did not vote. It is based on the following principles: sovereignty, democratic legitimacy, transparency, dialogue, social cohesion, Europeanism, legality, role of the Catalan Parliament and participation.[34][35][36]

In accordance with the democratically expressed will of the majority of the Catalan public, the Parliament of Catalonia initiates a process to bring to promote the right of the citizens of Catalonia to collectively decide their political future.[34]

The political parties Convergence and Union (CiU) (50 yes), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) (21 yes) and Initiative for Catalonia Greens-United and Alternative Left (ICV-EUiA) (13 yes) totally supported the statement of sovereignty. On the other hand, the People's Party of Catalonia (PPC) (19 no) and Citizens – Party of the Citizenry (C's) (9 no) totally opposed the proposal. 15 members of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC) voted against; 5 did not vote despite being present in the Chamber, thus disobeying the orders of the party whips to vote against the proposal. Finally, the Popular Unity Candidature (CUP) gave a "critical yes", with 1 vote in favour and 2 abstentions.[35]

On 8 May 2013 this purely political declaration was provisionally suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain.[37][38]

Date and wording

On 12 December 2013, the Government of Catalonia announced that a deal between Catalan nationalist parties had set the date and wording for the referendum on independence. The date would be 9 November 2014 and that it will contain a question with two sections: "Do you want Catalonia to become a State?" and "In case of an affirmative response, do you want this State to be independent?".[39][40]

The date was chosen as it would allow for discussions with the Spanish Government in order "to stage the consultation legally", but the Spanish Government stated shortly thereafter its intention to block the referendum, stating "Such a poll will not be held."[41][42] Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Prime Minister, said that the referendum would be considered illegal and that "any discussion or debate on this is out of the question".[41][43]

Ballot questions

Ballot question (in Catalan and Spanish)

According to the consultation decree, "in the consultation there is a first question followed successively by a second question, and they are worded as follows: a) Do you want Catalonia to become a State? (Yes/No); If so: b) Do you want this State to be independent? (Yes/No). You can only answer the question under Letter b) in the event of having answered “Yes” to the question under Letter a)." [7] The "participation process" that has replaced the "non-referendum consultation" maintains the same two questions.


The participation process does not have an official electorate.[44] The vote has been called by the Catalan government for people who are at least 16 years of age on 9 November 2014 and who meet one of the following criteria:[45]

Catalan people who are resident in other Spanish regions, and Spanish citizens who live in Catalonia but are not resident there, cannot vote.

Estimates of the number of people eligible to vote range between 5.4 million [46] and 6.2 million.[47][48]


On 25 March 2014, the Spanish Constitutional Court finally ruled that the sovereignty part of the "Declaration of Sovereignty and of the Right to Decide of the Catalan People" was "unconstitutional and null", and therefore did not allow a self-determination referendum to be held in Catalonia.[49] It however allows the part of the right to decide (allows to check the Catalan people's opinion by a legal consultation). The Catalan government declared that this ruling would "have no effect on the process".[50]

On 8 April 2014, the Spanish Congress rejected the Catalan parliament's request to give it the power to organize the self-determination referendum. The bill was voted down 299 (PP, PSOE, UPyD, UPN and Foro Asturias) to 47 (CiU, Izquierda Unida, PNV, BNG, Amaiur, ERC, Compromís and Geroa Bai), with one abstention (NC-CC).[51][52]

Consultation and other forms of citizen participation Law

On 19 September 2014 the Parliament of Catalonia approved by 106 favourable votes, 28 against, the Consultation law. According to pro-consultation parties, this law will provide the legal basis for the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, to hold the consultation (non-binding self-determination referendum) on independence from Spain on 9 November.[53]

Non-binding independence referendum decree

On 27 September 2014, Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree calling for a consultation on independence.[20] On 29 September 2014, the Spanish Constitutional Court provisionally suspended the vote.[22] The Catalan Government subsequently announced the "temporary suspension" of the referendum campaign.[23]

Citizen participation process

On 14 October, the Catalan President proposes a "process of citizen participation" as an alternative for the original referendum[24] The Spanish government announced that it would block the effort by appealing to the Spanish Constitutional Court, which decided to hear the Spanish government case on 4 November 2014, which provisionally suspended the vote. The Catalan Government announced they would push forward with the vote, in defiance of the Constitutional Court of Spain.[25] On 5 November, Catalan representatives complain to international organizations against Spanish Government for blocking self-determination.[54]



Position of the parties with parliamentary representation in Catalonia (sorted by votes):

Rest of Spain

Catalan independence flag hoisted on the Gipuzkoa Regional Govt headquarters on 9 November 2014.
Spanish Government

The Spanish Government "will not allow" and "will not negotiate" on Catalonia’s self-determination vote.[41][68]


Position of the parties with parliamentary representation in the Parliament of Spain (sorted by seats):

Regional Governments

The Basque Government supports the Catalan agreement to hold the referendum and calls on the Spanish government to recognise the referendum and allow it to be celebrated.[80]

International reactions

European parties

Opinion polling

Attitudes in Catalonia

Surveys with the referendum questions

Since December 2013, several surveys have been carried out on the two stated questions of the referendum. The "Yes/Yes"-option indicates the percentage of voters in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state and the "Yes/No"-option indicates the percentage in favour of Catalonia becoming a state but against independence. Voters who vote in the first question no, are against Catalonia becoming a state.

Polling organisationYes/YesYes/NoYes/UndecidedNoUndecided/Abstention
Sep 2014El Mundo34.6%4.5%2.3%39.5%19.2%
Mar 2014El Periódico de Catalunya46.1%4.4%2.8%31.9%14.8%
5 Feb 20148 al dia40.7%3.8%3.5%24.4%27.5%
16-19 Dec 2013La Vanguardia44.9%8.4%-36.6%10.1%
12-13 Dec 2013El Mundo35.2%5.5%2.3%39.1%17.9%
12-13 Dec 2013El Periódico de Catalunya44.1%5.8%2.4%30.4%17.3%

Short-term polling

Polling organisationSupportRejectUndecidedLead
Sep 2013Cadena SER52.3%24.1%23.6%28.2%
Jun 2013Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió55.6%23.4%21%32.2%
May 2013El Periódico de Catalunya57.8%36%6.2%21.8%
Feb 2013Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió54.7%20.7%24.6%34%
Sep 2012Telecinco (GESOP)50.9%18.6%30.5%32.3%
Jul 2012Diari Ara50.4%23.8%25.8%26.6%
Jun 2012Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió51.1%21.1%27.8%30%
Mar 2012Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió44.6%24.7%30.7%19.9%
Jan 2012El Periódico de Catalunya53.6%32%14.4%21.6%

Long-term surveys

Trends in support for Catalan independence can be observed by comparing more recent surveys with that carried out by Spain's Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas in 1996, which asked "Personally, would you support or reject Catalonia becoming independent?".

Polling organisationSupportRejectUndecidedLead
2011Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials41.4%22.9%35.7%18.5%
1996Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas33.6%53.5%13.1%19.9%


The Catalan government indicated that 2,305,290 votes were cast overall,[8] but did not provide a turnout percentage figure. Turnout estimates published by media outlets range between 37.0% [9][10][11] and 41.6%.[12] 80.8% of the cast votes supported the Yes-Yes option, 10.1% the Yes-No, 4.5% the No option.

Choice Votes Percentage
Yes - Yes 1,861,753 80.76%
Yes - No 232,182 10.07%
Yes - blank 22,466 0.97%
No 104,772 4.54%
Blank 12,986 0.56%
Others 71,131 3.09%

Turnout varied greatly across the 41 administrative districts of Catalonia. It was higher than 50% in twelve of them, whereas in two it was lower than 25%. The proportion of Yes-Yes votes over the total electorate ranged between 12.9% (Val d'Aran) and 56.9% (Priorat). In the most populous district (Barcelonès) turnout was 32.5% and the overall proportion of Yes-Yes votes reached 24.9%.[98]

By District

Below is a table outlining the results of the referendum by district. The table does not consider turnout.

Local authority [99] "Yes-Yes" ballots "Yes-No" ballots "No" ballots Yes-Yes (%) Yes-No (%) No (%) Valid Ballots
Alt Camp 15,012 846 519 94.55% 5.34% 3.27% 15,877
Alt Empordà 36,131 2,349 1,474 90.43% 5.89% 3.69% 39,954
Alt Penedès 36,648 2,846 1,227 90.00% 6.99% 3.01% 40,721
Alt Urgell 6,854 485 203 90.88% 6.43% 2.69% 7,542
Alta Ribagorça 1,033 150 60 83.11% 12.07% 4.83% 1,243
Anoia 33,365 3,077 1,705 87.46% 8.07% 4.47% 38,147
Bages 62,593 4,561 2,457 89.92% 6.55% 3.53% 69,611
Baix Camp 44,779 4,074 2,477 87.24% 7.94% 4.83% 51,330
Baix Ebre 23,435 1,638 962 90.01% 6.29% 3.70% 26,035
Baix Empordà 39,586 2,469 1,326 91.25% 5.69% 3.06% 43,381
Baix Llobregat 142,611 30,329 14,945 75.90% 16.14% 7.95% 187,885
Baix Penedès 17,753 1,977 1,240 84.66% 9.43% 5.91% 20,970
Barcelonès 479,315 84,171 32,475 80.43% 14.12% 5.50% 595,961
Berguedà 18,706 612 287 95.41% 3.12% 1.46% 19,605
Cerdanya 5,554 389 191 90.54% 6.34% 3.11% 6,134
Conca de Barberà 9,047 388 197 93.93% 4.03% 2.05% 9,632
Garraf 32,730 4,268 1,400 85.24% 11.12% 3.65% 38,398
Garrigues 8,836 396 152 94.16% 4.22% 1.62% 9,384
Garrotxa 23,652 789 377 95.30% 3.18% 1.52% 24,818
Gironès 59,374 3,723 1,687 91.65% 5.75% 2.64% 64,784
Maresme 123,179 13,236 5,013 87.10% 9.36% 3.54% 141,428
Montsià 19,256 1,445 921 89.06% 6.68% 4.26% 21,622
Noguera 14,511 758 398 92.62% 5.84% 2.54% 15,667
Osona 68,233 2,616 1,076 94.87% 3.64% 1.50% 71,925
Pallars Jussà 4,981 272 114 92.81% 5.07% 2.12% 5,367
Pallars Sobirà 2,738 156 52 92.94% 5.23% 1.77% 2,946
Pla d'Urgell 13,817 699 398 92.64% 5.23% 2.67% 14,914
Pla de l'Estany 14,187 483 177 95.55% 3.25% 1.19% 14,847
Priorat 4,887 177 82 94.97% 3.44% 1.59% 5,146
Ribera d'Ebre 8,841 531 119 93.15% 5.59% 1.25% 9,491
Ripollès 11,762 534 288 93.47% 4.24% 2.89% 12,584
Segarra 7,715 396 199 92.84% 4.77% 2.39% 8,310
Segrià 54,538 5,545 2,843 86.67% 8.81% 4.52% 62,926
Selva 45,249 3,294 1,871 89.75% 6.53% 3.71% 50,414
Solsonès 5,572 289 106 93.38% 4.84% 1.78% 5,967
Tarragonès 42,472 5,635 3,971 81.55% 10.82% 7.63% 52,078
Terra Alta 4,404 282 184 90.43% 5.79% 3.78% 4,870
Urgell 14,023 701 328 93.16% 4.66% 2.18% 15,052
Val d'Aran 1,091 241 223 70.16% 15.50% 14.34% 1,555
Vallès Occidental 199,433 32,402 14,254 81.04% 13.67% 5.79% 246,089
Vallès Oriental 103,850 12,959 6,047 84.53% 10.55% 4.92% 122,856
Catalonia 1,861,753 232,182 104,772 84.67% 10.56% 4.77% 2,198,707


Catalan president Artur Mas said the vote was "a lesson in democracy." Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the vote a "deep failure" because "two thirds of Catalans did not participate" and he claimed it violated a ruling of the Constitutional Court.[100]

See also


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