Despite an overwhelming referendum victory for Catalan secessionists on October 1, winning 90 percent of the vote, the so-called silent majority of Catalonia is determined to make its voice heard.
The group has unified around the mantra “recover our senses” and claims to represent the voices of the 60 percent of Catalans who did not vote in the independence referendum for fear of legitimizing the process and its results. In their view, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont lacks the authority to declare a mandate from last week’s vote, but most of them also agree that Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy’s efforts to repress voting were similarly worrying.
Instead of independence, the coalition hopes to press both sides towards dialogue and a mutually beneficial diplomatic solution in the form of increased financial autonomy for the Catalan region and official recognition of Catalonia as a nation within Spain in exchange for dropping the independence suit.
When asked why they were opposed to independence, most Catalan citizens of this group explained their fears of economic turmoil, mentioned a significant personal connection to the other regions of Spain, or were concerned over the precarious position of an independent Catalan state in NATO or the European Union.
Pro-union Catalans marched in Barcelona on October 8 to pressure Puigdemont and Rajoy towards the negotiating table.
Ultimately, the group hopes that Rajoy will officially apologize for his recent actions with the Civil Guard and allow the Catalan Parliament to resume meeting. Some see the apology of Madrid’s regional representative in Catalonia as a first step. On the Catalan side, the group looks forward to Puigdemont dropping his unilateral declaration of independence and reengaging with Madrid, just as the central government has suggested.