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Referendum, 2014

The leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-­democracy protests cancelled a vote on what the next step should be in their month-long street ­occupation, saying they had not consulted the ­demonstrators properly before calling the referendum.

The planned referendum on independence in Catalonia was officially suspended by Spain's constitutional court this week. This means that the referendum - along with all campaigning and preparations for the vote on independence in the region - will be put on hold for as much as five months. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Francesc Trillas, professor of economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Catalonia’s president has today formally announced a date for a referendum to decide whether the region should break away from Spain and become and independent country.


The Scottish referendum is the main topic in Telling It Like It Is, as discussed by political analyst Alexander Nekrassov and the US-based broadcaster and writer Jeffrey Robinson. Brendan Cole asks the questions. Other topics include the threat of the Islamic State and U2’s musical ambitions.

The Spanish government today welcomed Scotland's 'No' vote on independence, but Catalans set on breaking away from Spain pushed ahead for their own ballot on self-rule. Nationalists in the northeastern Catalonia region keenly watched the result from Scotland, knowing a 'Yes' result there would fire up their own campaign to hold a vote - a move fiercely opposed by Spain's central government.

As the struggle continues over the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine and Scotland prepares for its referendum in September, the leader of Spain's economically powerful region of Catalonia said on Wednesday he was "determined" to press ahead with an independence referendum in November despite opposition from the national government.

A British parliamentary committee has ruled out the possibility of "any kind" of currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The Committee for Scottish Affairs concluded in a report that Scotland would no longer be able to use the pound if it voted for independence in a referendum on September 18.

Britain's relationship with the European Union continues to vex politicians in London and indeed in Brussels. British Prime Minister David Cameron has made it clear he is unhappy with the nomination of Luxemburg's former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker for the role of European Commission president. VoR talks to Christophe Bump, political editor with the newspaper Luxemburger Wort.

People living in Scotland will each be £1,400 ($2,400) a year better off if they vote to remain part of the United Kingdom, Britain's chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said on Wednesday. He was speaking as the UK Treasury published a new report assessing the fiscal position of an independent Scotland over the period from 2016 to 2035/36. VoR's Juliet Spare has the report. 

The region of Donetsk appealed to Moscow on Monday to consider its absorption into the Russian Federation to "restore historic justice". Protesters have accused Kiev of launching an armed onslaught against eastern regions and say any door to negotiations with the national leadership was closing. VoR’s Brendan Cole spoke to Keir Giles, the Associate Fellow, International Security and Russia and Eurasia Programme and asked him if he thought the referendum on the weekend in Ukraine scuppered any chance of a successfully run election later in May.

Immigration is the hottest topic in the run up to the European Parliamentary Elections, due to take place on May 22nd. While UKIP are the favourite to win that election, the Conservatives have pledged to tackle the immigration issue with various new measures. David Cameron says he is aiming to only attract migrants to the UK who come to work. VoR’s Carmen Cracknell reports.

The results of the referendums on independence that took place in eastern Ukraine over the weekend should be implemented, Russia has said. However Ukraine says the votes on self-rule are "a farce" with no legal basis. VoR’s Brendan Cole spoke to Paula Slier, from the RT channel, about the self-styled head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin.

The leader of Britain’s UKIP party - which is campaigning for Britain to exit the European Unions - has said the EU is to blame for the current crisis in Ukraine. Nigel Farage said a campaign to try and recruit Ukraine into the EU and NATO upsets a delicate balance within the country.

According to the reports by self-defence forces and witnesses, one civilian was killed and several others wounded in Krasnoarmeysk, eastern Ukraine, as the National Guard started shooting at protesters and voters, who had gathered around a seized polling station.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday he would not quit if Scotland voted to leave the United Kingdom in a September referendum to become an independent country. Asked if he would resign if he presided over the break-up of the United Kingdom, Cameron said the Sept. 18 vote would not determine his future as prime minister or Conservative leader as that would be decided at Britain's general election next May.

Spain's parliament overwhelmingly shot down Catalonia's request to hold a November 9 referendum on independence by a landslide 299 votes to 47 after a seven-hour debate on Tuesday. "Together we all win and separate we all lose," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told parliament. Catalans who favour independence are pointing to Scotland, which is to hold a referendum in September authorised by the British government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday recognising Crimea as a sovereign state after it declared itself independent and applied to join Russia following a weekend referendum. Meanwhile, the EU and US have announced travel bans and asset freezes against a number of officials from Russia and Ukraine. VoR's political analyst Dmitry Babich gives us his views on today's developments.

Crimeans voted in a referendum on Sunday by 96.6% of those voting to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. President Putin told US President Obama the referendum had been in line with UN protocol on the principle of self-determination. Obama said he did not recognise the result. EU leaders meet on Monday to discuss sanctions.

Voters in Crimea's historic naval city of Sevastopol were voting Sunday in a referendum on joining Russia which is expected to go in Moscow's favour. Sevastopol, a picturesque coastal city of 350,000 people, is strongly pro-Russian and many cars, buses, houses and buildings were flying the Russian flag.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has rejected an offer of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the crisis in Ukraine. He's said Moscow's involvement in Crimea had made any negotiations extremely difficult. Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, meanwhile, has said proposals made by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, were “not suitable” at the moment. The lack of diplomatic progress comes ahead of meetings by Western officials in London today on sanctions against Russia. We spoke to Yulia Rusanova, senior Ukraine and Russia analyst at Oxford Analytica.

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