Artur Mas sworn into office
Catalonia has a new President. Artur Mas, the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU), becomes the 129th President of the Catalan Government. The swearing-in ceremony takes place this morning at the Generalitat Palace, the seat of the Government. Mas is sworn into office in an institutional ceremony, followed by a reception. The new Catalan Ministers were announced this afternoon and will take office on Wednesday, when the new Government will meet for the first time.
Barcelona (ACN).- Artur Mas i Gavarró is the 129th President of the Catalan Government. Mas swore the oath, administered by the President of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert. De Gispert asked Mas, \u201CDo you promise to fulfil the obligations of the position of President of the Catalan Government, in your conscience, with honour, and with loyalty to the King, the Constitution, the Statute of Autonomy and Catalonia\u2019s national institutions?\u201D Mas solemnly answered, \u201CYes, I do.\u201D He then added \u201Cand with full loyalty towards the people of Catalonia\u201D. José Montilla, who duly became the former President of the Catalan Government, hung the gold medal of the Catalan Presidency around Artur Mas\u2019s neck.
Mas then delivered his first speech as President. He stated, \u201CI feel that I am a builder of Catalonia, a builder of my country, of the Catalan nation.\u201D However, he underlined that building a country is not \u201Ca job for impatient people\u201D. Mas explained that the life of a president is counted in years, the life of a person in decades, the life of states in centuries; however, the life of nations and cultures is counted in millennia. He went on to say that he sees himself as a small part \u201Cof this chain, of this gear that started a thousand years ago.\u201D Mas promised to serve as President of the Catalan Government with a \u201Ccold head, warm heart, firm fist, and feet on the ground\u201D.
The solemn swearing-in ceremony was held in the Sant Jordi room of the Generalitat Palace, the seat of the Catalan Government, in Barcelona\u2019s gothic district. The ceremony started with an address by José Montilla, who delivered his last speech as President of the Catalan Government. Montilla left the office stressing that he had been \u201Ca humble servant\u201D of Catalonia and that he would be working to make Catalan society more concerned about \u2018making\u2019 than \u2018being.\u2019\u201D Artur Mas thanked Montilla for the smooth transition of power, walking with him to the Palace gates at the end of the ceremony. Both Presidents saluted the guard of honour, after which Montilla took his leave in the official car. Mas then went with his wife to the Palace balcony and, together with CiU leaders, he saluted his supporters, who had congregated in Sant Jaume Square, in front of the Palace. The ceremony ended with a reception in the Palace\u2019s orange tree yard, where more than 700 political, economic and cultural Catalan personalities had congregated. Finally, Mas went to the President\u2019s office to fine-tune the last aspects of his Government\u2019s key main positions. In the office, he found a letter from his predecessor.