In the year 1979, after the declining of the dictatorship of Franco, constitution introduced a new political framework for Spain according to which people of Spain had the right to organize their lives. The non-democratic system of rule followed by Franco was totally taken out and a new ‘Autonomous Communitiesa System’ was introduced. The most prominent issue that the new regime had to face was the question of Catalonian and Basque nationalities. The fight for centralization, federalism and various other issues gave rise to the emerging of Catalan identity. The Basques are the pre-Aryan race in Europe who rules themselves on the basis of certain local statutes and charters. Both Catalonia and Basque are culturally and historically distinct unlike other states that do not have a territorial identity. Catalonia and Basque were privileged to exercise a full autonomy while others could enjoy only a restricted autonomy. Asymmetrical decentralization followed by Spain was favored by both these nationalities (Ross 1999).
More…Both Catalonia and Basque had to suffer discrimination from the authoritarian regime, but the response to that oppression differed in them. Catalonians were found to be less violent than people of Basque nationality. The difference in the mode of response shown by the two communities is because of the difference in their nationalism and the disparity in their socio-political structures. Catalan nationalism mainly exhibits a civic character with a policy of participating in Spanish politics but Basque culture is found to be of exclusive nature. Both Basque and Catalan autonomous community governments give high emphasis to the policies that protect their respective languages (Daniele 1993).
When Catalan people selected the policy of peaceful mobilization for their struggles, Basque people followed the strategy of violence (Paddy 2001). Catalans chose the path of politics rather than resorting to violence towards the government in the matters of their demands. They have substantial degree of home rule and have large number of representatives in parliament; making their leaders shine in the national politics. Basque nationalism, however, resorted to violent means and their Militant Separatist Organization slaughtered nearly 800 people in various terrorist attacks. Catalan nation was based on territorial and linguistic basis demanding more political power or sovereignty. They were found to be moderate resting on a common cultural platform. But Basque nationalism always maintained its radical separatist stand and followed its idea of internal fragmentation.
In spite of all these variations, these two communities were somewhat similarly structured. Each of them had regional legislative assembly having single chamber. Leader of the party that attains majority will hold the community presidency and the deputies will be selected on the basis of proportional representation. Ministers will take care of the administrative departments and president will head the regional executives. Governments of both these nationalities offer comprehensive public services – health, education, culture, agriculture and so on. They manage and organize their autonomous police force that is a part of Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil. For Basque and the Catalan nationalists, Spain is not a nation but a state made up of several ethnic nations. They always dream getting recognized as independent nations within Spain (Funes 1998).
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