Catalan government kicks-off logistic plans to carry out a referendum in 2014
The Catalan Government is drawing out plans to prepare a referendum on independence, especially considering the posibility that the Spanish government may refuse to collaborate with Catalonia in the organisation of the vote. The Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, will meet next week with the Unity for Electoral Process to discuss the logistics of the referendum. In an interview on Friday with the Catalan radio, she said the next budget will include a special line for the costs of running the independence vote.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, will meet next week with the Unity for Electoral Process to discuss the logistics of organising the 2014 referendum on independence. In an interview with Catalan radio, Ortega said the government is starting plans to obtain ballot boxes and polling booths on the assumption that the Spanish government will not provide them.
“We’ll have to prepare public funds to get all that is necessary including polling booths and ballot boxes. This is all material that, up until now, was provided by the Spanish state and as a government we have to be prepared”, she said. “I will ask for a special line in the budget for these expenses”, she stated, adding that the government should act “step by step, with no rush, but with an aim to be ready and to do things in the right way”.
The Catalan president, Artur Mas, sent a letter in July to Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, to formally request a referendum on independence in Catalonia. The letter is said to be answered by Rajoy in the next few weeks according to the Presidency Minister of the Catalan government, Francesc Homs. The government is not confident that it will receive a positive answer to the petition to hold a referendum, but Mas sent the letter to urge Rajoy to start “talks and a negotiation process to allow, in an agreed way, the Catalan people to vote”.
Joana Ortega said that she doesn’t expect the Spanish government to provide ballot boxes or other materials necessary for the referendum, as it does in regular elections. The Vice President didn’t want to speculate on how much it would cost to run the referendum, but said the money will be there because the Catalan government is “committed” to next years referendum. “We will see on what day we will do it, but the government must be ready”, she stated.
Ortega said that Catalonia passed a consultations law and is preparing a second one that can provide the regional legal framework to hold the referendum in case the Spanish government refuses to authorise it. The Vice President said that whatever happens, “what cannot be denied is the will of the people” to vote democratically. Ortega is confident the referendum will have a high turn-out and “the result will be unquestionable”.
The Catalan Vice President also criticised the leader of the People’s Party in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez Camacho, who said Rajoy is going to answer Mas’s letter by acting following the rule of lay and offering an improvement in the fiscal arrangements with Spain. “They shouldn’t try to fool us”, said Ortega, adding that the changes to the fiscal system were already expected for 2014 and that Spain cannot avoid a referendum by offering a new economical arrangement. “Rajoy does not have a plan for Catalonia, and does not have Catalonia in his plans”, Ortega criticised.
The Vice President regretted the level of debt that Spain has with Catalonia, adding that, besides those, Madrid has not shared with the autonomous communities the extra time that has been offered by Brussels to meet its deficit targets and has forced regions to apply strict austerity measures. “Madrid owes money to Catalonia, and it has to pay for institutional loyalty”, she stated.