• Spanish town León’s historic motion passed for separation from the province of Castilla y León

By Andrew Atkinson

Spanish town León has had an historic motion passed for the separation of the province from the region of Castilla y León, formed in 1983 in the wake of Spain returning to democracy after the death of General Franco.

“We’ve never felt ourselves to be part of Castilla y León. It’s a fictitious region – León has nothing to do with Castile,” said Mayor José Antonio Díez.

Following a vote on December 27 in León City Hall, other towns across the province have now followed suit – that the historic region comprising León, Salamanca and Zamora – split from Castilla y León.

Member of the Regional Parliament for the Leonese People’s Union (UPL) party Luis Mariano said  a ‘path’ has started in that six town and city halls now support the creation of new region out of León’s 200 Municipalities.

“If we can get to the point where we have a majority of the population represented by these motions, we would at least oblige the main political parties to sit down and debate our demands,” said Mariano.

A table of dialogue is to be put forward by León Mayor Díez, concerning the future of the embryonic region, using the same language as the Catalan Republican Left party.

The Catalan Republican Left party has demanded the launch of a negotiation process – over Catalonia’s future – as its condition for supporting a Government in Madrid, led by Pedro Sanchez.

Mariano says the move for a new Leonese region is not a question of separatism: “We feel Spanish. We want to continue being Spanish.

“This has absolutely nothing in common with the Catalan issue,” he said.

Nine provinces make up the Castilla y León region, whose capital is Valladolid, with a population under 500,000.

Mariano says there was no referendum on the formation of the Castilla y León region, as took place in other regions, including the Basque Country, Catalonia and Andalucia, complaining that Valladolid takes a ‘Lion’s share’ of investment into the region.

“All we have done is to swap one overwhelming centralisation in Madrid for another one in Valladolid,” Mariano said of the formation of the region, almost 40 years ago.

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