Self-Rule Spree Jars With Notion of Democracy

Self-Rule Spree Jars With Notion of Democracy

A lawmaker said the idea that each community could hold a referendum to form a separate state runs counter to principles of democracy.
Commenting on the recent independence vote in Spain's Catalonia, lawmaker Jalil Rahimi also told ICANA that if each community wants to declare independence by holding referendums, this would undermine peace and stability in many regions, which is against democracy.
In defiance of the Spanish federal government, Catalonia held an "illegal" independence referendum on Oct. 1, which is becoming a headache for a European Union still grappling with the repercussions of a financial crisis and the divorce of Britain from the block, known as Brexit.
The vote came at a time when a push for secession had become a hot topic in Iraqi Kurdistan where an independence vote was held on Sept. 25. Two regions of Italy also held self-autonomy votes on Oct. 22.
Catalan authorities said about 90% of those who took part in the referendum voted for independence. But only 43% of the electorate participated, with most opponents of secession staying at home.
The independence push has met with strong opposition across the rest of Spain and divided Catalonia itself. It has also prompted hundreds of firms to move their headquarters out of the region.
The Spanish government has invoked special constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force elections to counter the independence drive. However, Catalonia is resisting attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule on the region.
The lawmaker noted that the notion of self-determination enshrined in international law gives permission to all peoples to determine the government system they prefer to rule over them, but the misuse of the idea to promote secessionist drives runs counter to the foundation of the United Nations Charter that upholds international security.
Rahimi recalled that many European communities also sought self-determination in the past, adding that such moves would lead to the disintegration of the continent if the regions revived their near dormant drives for secession.
"Europe cannot allow its breakup by Catalonia [secessionist vote]," he said, noting that democracy would not be materialized by one community, but by a nation living together.


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