The shortest-lived Catalan Republic?

Independence supporters gather outside Catalonia’s government buildings. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

Most Spaniards today are unaware that recognition of the Catalan government predates the Spanish constitution.

Protestors gather as Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont announces that he will not seek asylum despite charges of sedition that sprung from his administration’s push for independence. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

To dispute the validity of the referendum on grounds of illegality disregards the fundamental questions of what or who makes a law legitimate.

By abusing this system, the Spanish government has paralyzed the Catalan legislation, reducing autonomous governance to a cosmetic façade.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaks. Soon after, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy decides to dissolve the Catalan Parliament. Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images.

They are the smoking gun of Spain’s regression to the era of political persecution.

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The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Stanford’s premier research institute for international affairs. Faculty views are their own.