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Controversy in Catalonia: What does it mean for investors?

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On Sunday 1 October, Catalonia held a controversial referendum for independence. The vote was deemed unconstitutional by the Spanish Constitutional Court and the central government tried to prevent it from taking place by ordering police and security force reinforcements to seize ballots and close polling locations.

Nevertheless, according to Catalan sources and amidst reported irregularities, more than two million voters went to the ballot (a participation rate of 43%) amid violence that left over 800 injured. On Sunday evening, the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont announced that 90% had voted in favour of independence, while Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stated on TV that no referendum took place in Catalonia. Spain's King Felipe VI strongly backed Prime Minister Rajoy, accusing Catalan leaders of having placed themselves "outside the law and democracy” and of trying to “break the unity of Spain and national sovereignty”.

The most recent polls in Catalonia, including referendum non-voters, suggested that only a minority of the population supported independence (44%) although a large majority supported the principle of a referendum (82%).

Source : Axa Real Estate

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