Politics Betting: Referendum rumbles grow ever louder in Catalonia

The result may not stand but Catalonia looks like holding a referendum on independence from Spain all the same
The result may not stand but Catalonia looks like holding a referendum on independence from Spain all the same
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We cover the main UK and USA betting markets in great depth here on B.B, but there's plenty going on elsewhere in the world, such as the possible referendum on independence in Catalonia and the Presidential election in Mexico next year. Former career Ambassador Pieter Swanepoel gives us the lowdown...

"One thing is almost certain: the Catalan Independence Referendum will go ahead and Betfair odds of [1.47] on 'Yes' reflect the fact there's a very decent chance the vote will go in favour of independence. Whether the result will stand, remains to be seen..."

What's the Catalan Referendum all about?

Catalonia's long-awaited and bitterly controversial referendum on independence from Spain is scheduled to be held on October 1 2017, the Regional Government announced on June 9 2017, triggering yet another political and judicial showdown with Madrid.

The Catalan President, Charles Puigdemont, said that the voters in the unilateral referendum would be asked the question: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?"

Puigdemont's pro-sovereignty administration insists the wealthy north-eastern region of Spain has a political, economic and cultural right to self-determination.

The Spanish Government, however, is implacably opposed to secession, arguing that it is a violation of their Constitution and has vowed to use all possible means to stop the referendum from being held.

Puigdemont said that Madrid had left his Government with no choice but to call the vote. Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, dismissed the announcement as an empty threat.

So which way is it likely to go? More than 80% of participants opted for independence in a symbolic poll held three years ago - although only 2.3 million of Catalonia's 5.4 million eligible voters took part. Spain's Constitutional Court ruled the previous referendum was illegal five days before it was held on November 9 2014.

This time round, however, the Catalan Goverment insists the results will be legally binding. Puigdemont has said he is prepared to face the consequences of defying the court.

The Spanish Government is confident that it can stop the referendum from happening in the first place. Apart from the courts, it has the power to invoke Article 155 of the Constitution, which would allow it to take drastic steps to thwart the vote by suspending regional autonomy.

Such a move could see Madrid ordering the closure of schools in the region to stop them from being used as polling stations and even taking control of the Catalan Police.

One thing is almost certain: the Referendum will go ahead and Betfair odds of [1.47] on 'Yes' reflect the fact there's a very decent chance the vote will go in favour of independence. Whether the result will stand, remains to be seen...

A year to go till the big election in Mexico

Moving on to Mexico, general elections are due to be held there on July 1 2018. Voters will elect a new President to serve a six-year term, 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 128 members of the Senate.

The election will feature nine registered political parties, including the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN), Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the newly formed National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).

PRI, which held the Presidency from 1929 to 2000 and is currently in power under President Pena Nieto, is primarily a centre party. PAN is a centre-right party, which held the Presidency from 2000-2012. The leftist PRD grew out of the PRI in 1986. MORENA, created in 2014 by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is a left-leaning party, which split from the PRD.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, born 1953, is a Mexican politician, who held the position of Head of Government of the Federal District from 2000 to 2005, before resigning in July 2005 to contend the 2006 Presidential election.

On July 6 2006, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) announced the final vote count in the 2006 Presidential election, resulting in a narrow margin of 0.56 percentage points or 243,934 votes victory for his opponent, Felipe Calderon. Lopez Obrador appealed against the results and mobilized large protesters against the election. However, on September 5 2006, the IFE ruled that the election was fair and that Felipe Calderon was the winner and would become the President of Mexico.

The candidates

In 2012, Lopez Obrador was again the candidate of the PRD for President. The election, held on July 6, was won by Enrique Pena Nieto of PRI, with 38.2 % of the votes to 31.6% for Lopez Obrador.

Lopez Obrador told a rally in Mexico City's main plaza, the Zocalo, on 9 September 2012, that he would withdraw from the PRD "on the best of terms". He added that he was working on creating a new party, which became MORENA in 2014.

On 14 June 2015, Margarita Zavala de Calderon released a video announcing her desire to be the PAN Presidential candidate in 2018. Born in 1967, she is a Mexican lawyer and politician, as well as the wife of former President Felipe Calderon.

The PRI candidate is Migual Angel Osorio Chong, who was born on August 5 1964 and presently still serves as Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Pena Nieto. Previously he was the Governor for the State of Hidalgo until April 2011. He is of Chinese descent through his mother's family.

It's a developing market but the Betfair odds suggest this one's going to the wire. Lopez Obrador and Margarita Zavala are at present joint-favourites, each at the [2.24] mark. Miguel Angel Chong is rated an [8.0] shot. Things are hotting up over in Mexico.

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