The Spanish vision of Canada’s Clarity Act: from idealization to myth

Since it was passed, the Clarity Act has been at the core of any secessionist debate in Canada and abroad. Although contested at home, the Clarity Act has earned worldwide prestige as the democratic standard that must be observed when a secessionist debate arises. In the last fifteen years Spain has experienced successive debates about the need to establish a mechanism of popular consultation to address secessionist claims in the Basque Country and Catalonia. Most political actors in favour of such consultations have expressed their will to import the Canadian Clarity Act as a tool to settle disputes on how to conduct a referendum. However, this deification of the Canadian example is, for the most part, based on a misreading of the Secession Reference, only taking into account certain passages while ignoring others. The emphasis tends to be made on the quantitative clear majority test, disregarding other factors. Hence, the aim of this paper is to study the causes of this deification of the Clarity Act in Spain, and its influence on the treatment of secessionist claims that the country is currently experiencing.
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