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Catalan voters go to the polls this weekend in a snap election that will serve as an unofficial referendum on independence for Spain's second-wealthiest region.
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Catalonia's election it could make a bad situation in Spain even worse. Spain is still reeling from the 2008 economic crisis, with the government planning to implement to austerity measures worth more than 90 billion euros over the next two years, despite an unemployment rate of 25.8 percent. If Catalonia secedes, other regions such as the Basque region may follow, leading perhaps even to the complete disintegration of a country that has suffered three civil war in the past 150 years.
Catalonia, which has maintained its own unique culture and language ever since it merged with Castile to form what eventually became the Kingdom of Spain, has long flirted with independence, but with popular sentiment fueled by the ongoing economic crisis against Madrid running high, this time it may be for real.
In Sunday's election, Catalans will vote for a new government, not on secession. If pro-independence politicians do well, a referendum on independence may not be too far off in the future.