Catalan president may declare independence

A referendum on Catalan independence passed this month despite opposition from the Spanish government.
13:34 | 10/09/17

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Transcript for Catalan president may declare independence
Hey everyone on an Abbas here in New York with an aid being big story developing overseas you probably haven't even heard much about but it's been eight days. Since residents in Catalonia overwhelmingly voted for independence. From Spain and that vote a lot of people are saying has now triggered the worst constitutional crisis in Spain. In the last forty years and that country let's go live now to Barcelona where he BC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Terry ran. Has been covering the story on the ground Terry you've been talking to folks there that referendum vote was marred. By some unprecedented violence what's it like they are now. Well I was here last week on the web that vote happened and your right there was violence in the streets. When the Spanish government sent in military police to stop that vote from happening they couldn't. They got a pretty good turnout and 90% of the people who did go to the polls ended up voting. For independence. To declare independence for this region the region of Catalonia. And break up state so what happens now well they haven't actually made the formal declaration yet. So today and this evening on the streets or were standing right outside the parliament where tomorrow. The head of the government here is expected to make a speech to declare an offense no one quite knows what's going to happen there's at a real sense of uncertainty. And tension people can't believe that the logic of events that. What's happening is really happening and the possibility. Not just of independence of the breakup of Spain. To say now that of what would happen to an independent Catalonia. What the response of the Spanish government would be both sides talking very tough right now. The Spanish government saying they will not allow this to happen. And there is a provision of the Spanish constitution. Which allows the central government. To take over the government here it's it's got about pessimistic provision in accounts detective who think about it. But they have the power under article 155. To dissolve the government here and taken over from Madrid that would cause real. Clashes. People believe in the streets of Barcelona. And here we are seeing some of those clashes that happened all under that voting day just a week ago now it's. Incredible to watching mean you're talking about. The Madrid based government there in Spain sending troops down we're seeing people being flung around. As they're standing outside some of those voting locations 900 people. Were injured on that day but help us understand that because a lot of folks are just getting up to speed. On what this conflict is based on. So what accelerated it why did the people of Catalonia want to secede in the first place. Yeah it was a huge Lee egregious. Angering Arab by the Spanish government. To send the troops into the beat people who were just piece of peacefully assembling to try to vote on this referendum. The Spanish government. Out court had ruled that it was an illegal that referendum. So the government sent in troops to stop but didn't and ended up in that terrible scene so why did these people here want to be independent for what is Catalonia but it does Barcelona. The whole world those Barcelona they get twelve million tourists a year. They had they Olympics here at the beautiful city it's the capital of this region. Catalonia of about seven million people they like to say if they were independent B about the size of Denmark or maybe. Maybe Austria it'd be that kind of European country and why they want to be independent. One history. They speak a different language here can't tell us. They have their own ancient history we got a history lesson today from one of the spokespersons. For the government they feel. Different have always had their distinctive traditions and have always been in some level of tension. With the central government but what really triggered it is a couple of things first the financial crisis this is the richest area of Spain 15. Spain's. GDP comes from this region and they feel they pay too much to the central government they'd like some of that money back. They tried to do a deal around that back in 2010 that fell apart. And I think the people here feel. That the government ran the country's economy into the ground and the financial crisis they picked up too much to the load and they want to get free of that. That another thing that happened. Was this British government's reaction to all this they have been tough from the beginning. They arrested mayors and school principals we're going to allow there. Their towns and their schools to be used as voting places they confiscated millions of ballots they put 101000 police. Here on the streets and all that I think. Increase the sentiment that weight we can no longer be part of a country that is treating us like this and then finally there's just something. In the windy there is this this dream that has been. Buried in cattle and folk songs and and art and literature that is now seeming to come alive in front of them cannot tell you people. Are excited about that it is almost logic in the events here the streets are coming alive with the possibility. Would the banners that flags of the capital in nation hanging from the balconies around town that this really could happen and I think. There's just they have momentum in the events which is brought things to this crisis. We'll carry that momentum that excitement on the ground that is obviously something that the Madrid based Spanish government. Does not want to see that they said they they do not want this to happen now that this vote. Has happened as you mentioned overwhelmingly. In support. Of independence. Now that there on this path is there any way off fifth. You know that is a great question. We are in a moment of extraordinary. Politics ordinary politics is when you keep talking keep talking cute doggie had to do a deal. All or you go back to the voters and come back and attack the problem next round. That's over here. On the one side you've got a declaration of independence they they've crossed the line into this extraordinary political space. And on the other side you've got the Spanish government saying there is no such thing. And we will not allow it to happen. They've got to open the space again and what will do that well one thing is the reality of what it would mean to step across that line. This is. A very wealthy province. But there are already major banks major companies dead are pulling out of here this one of the richest parts of Europe and they're saying. Too much instability too much uncertainty. Would would this new country of Catalonia be part of the EL a would have be it is little states in the in the middle of Europe. No one knows you know how. Bankers financiers. Corporate heads they hate uncertainty that's already you're seeing that happen. And there's been a necessity. To avoid violence so much so that it may be that the European Union itself could step in and say time out. Let's talk a right now. You know the Spanish government. Which represents them the people of spectacle Spain don't want this this part of Spain to secede. They're saying we'll talk but put the gun down don't don't declare independence that they aren't there's a nonviolent movement I don't mean that they are armed here. But they are at the extreme level of back to declare independence. And the spending comes as we are gonna talk and they put that away. And and it. People of this region are saying we want to talk but treated as equals and right now none of that happening so they have to open that space for dialogue. I don't see it right now I'll. Terry we should point out that you know of the about two and a half million people. Who did vote there was overwhelming support for independence but you've talked to some people there on the ground. In Catalonia who don't necessarily want to be an independent country right. That's right so that the referendum. This is about seven million people in Catalonia about five and a half million Ellis eligible voters. They got out about so little under two and a half million so they they didn't even get. Half the eligible voters. And of those 90%. Came out to vote for independence that is the mandate. Did the government is taking and saying this was a boat that was called. The people that showed up 90% voter but if you do the math. Gave 43%. Turned out they got 90% of that that 38%. And I there are people who say that does not represent the true. Wishes of all the people of Catalonia because a lot of people stayed on there were afraid of the violence. A lot of people like the folks we talked that we talked. A family. Here in Barcelona. That is mixed some of their their grandparents are Catalan there Spanish like a lot of people or their families are both they speak Spanish at home. Capital and as well. The the the father is a small business owner. And a medium sized business owner actor and he's saying you have to move out Barcelona where he was raised in order to continue to do business. But one thing. Did you get the sense from talking to them it is that is that they really don't. Know what's gonna come next and while they aren't afraid at this point of violence. They see it approaching on the horizon Nicholas. I think in recent. Days that definition by the of course they have to okay he went dark you know we talk. But as always he think it's ten and what it meant his neck with when potential impact. Cute cute cute cute I'll have to talk OK so keen with but the government has been down with. Do you think there will be violence. It's what happens tomorrow. If tomorrow is going to be different months immigration. Against the Spanish bombings and to stop it and it's going to be rights. Violence no but at least we're investments that would yes right it's right into Kansas right out of bars and this one days. Maybe you would hope that. You've both sides. That's month. Note to. Precedence. That's one and laurel graft because and is a good thing they don't know what's gonna happen next or should that I've been in places him in Ukraine not at a revolutionary moment. In Egypt that a revolutionary moment. And did that tension there the sense that things could break out violence was much higher people here still don't think that's going to happen. But that I'm certain that cloud of uncertainty. And that momentum of events anything could. Terry mentioned tomorrow. We'll all be watching of course away and that capital and government there convenes and we expect. Some sort of announcement something to happen moving forward why we expect. Leaders there to say how we expect it will be received its obviously the world's going to be watching tomorrow afternoon. That's right the world will be watching to mark this kind of flipping maybe tomorrow evening which shows the kind of pressures that are on this this government Carlos. We do mom who is that the head of the government here is gonna make a speech read the parliament is right over here. And what he has said and indicated is that the referendum contained. An imperative a command that this parliament will declare independence if that's what wins and that's what one. So he feels bound. Democratically bound. By what the referendum said and he has indicated that he will in fact. Vindicate. What they told the people that were voting for and he'll declare independence now. Maybe there's a little wiggle room in there what he first said that night that the results world war announced is that the people of Catalonia have won the right. To be an independent state. And there's some people talking about independents light. Maybe could say we've won the right that our declaration we will do so at some future date. There are certainly people that would not like that they want independence now. But yeah they don't have control their borders they don't have the Central Bank they've got no economic certainty about what comes next though they're going to be part of the EU were not. On the other hand they're there was so passionate about this when I imagine that they're governed by police did you know what. George Washington didn't know what was coming next either and that's the way I feel. He's added 1775. Here are 1775 year before a declaration were gonna get to 1776. No matter what so. It. While everyone is encouraging and pressuring. Both parties here to find some space that momentum is is is cutting the other way. It's just incredible incredible the level of uncertainty that half that could move forward. Taylor ran on the ground there fourth and Barcelona thanks so much carry its talk to you. And thanks to all of for you watching as well remember you can go over to abcnews.com. Any time to get the latest. On that story arcade download ABC news apt get all this breaking news headlines frontier for now I'm on the five. And see back here soon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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