Basque Country and Catalonia, 25 October 1979


To approve or reject the draft statute of autonomy of the Basque Country and Catalonia, respectively, that would restore the autonomous regional governments.

The question in the Basque Country was ‘Do you approve the draft Statute of Autonomy for the Basque Country?’

The question in Catalonia was ‘Do you approve the draft Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia?’


Participation of the residents of the two autonomous regions 

Supporters vs. Opponents

In the Basque Country, the major regional-nationalist party, Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) supported the new Statute, while the main opposition came from the Rightists, fearing the disintegration of the Spanish territorial integrity, and the terrorist group ETA pushing for secession. The two major issues of contention were the control of the police and the control of the Navarre province which was claimed as part of the Basque homeland.

The assembly of Catalan members of Parliament established a commission (‘Commission of Twenty’) that drafted the Statute and the major political parties supported the Statute.


Of the 1,541,775 Basque voters, 90,29% (832,105) voted ‘yes’ (turnout was 59,77%).

In Catalonia, the results were similar with a strong 88,5% ‘yes’ vote (2,322.355), while the turnout was 59,70%.

Other information

The secessionist violence of the Basque terrorist ETA caused more than 114 deaths in 1979.

The preceding statute of autonomy was established during the Second republic which was violently interrupted by the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) and the Francoist regime (1939-1975).


Facts on File World News Digest, <>
Albert Carreras and Xavier Tafunell (2005) ‘Estadísticas Históricas de España: Siglos XIX-XX’, p.1113.


Suggested Citation: Iosif Kovras, Referendums in Peace Processes Dataset, Queen's University Belfast (available online at