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Catalan independence referendum conforms to Spanish constitution, say 600 lawyers

Around 600 jurists signed a manifesto in favor of holding a referendum on independence in Catalonia in accordance with the Spanish government. The signers of the text, which was presented on Wednesday at the Bar Association, gave “full support” to the celebration of such a vote. Furthermore, they stated that the referendum is “legitimate and legal” and that “it fits” within the Spanish Constitution. They also warned that “continuous opposition” from Madrid to coming to an agreement about the referendum justifies “other options” for Catalonia’s citizens to be able to express themselves on how they want to decide their future. Catalonia's Minister of Justice, Carles Mundó, was also present at the signing of the manifesto.

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04 May 2017 08:02 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Around 600 jurists signed a manifesto in favor of holding a referendum on independence in Catalonia in accordance with the Spanish government. The signers of the text, which was presented on Wednesday at the Bar Association, gave “full support” to the celebration of such a vote. Furthermore, they stated that the referendum is “legitimate and legal” and that “it fits” within the Spanish Constitution. They also warned that “continuous opposition” from Madrid to coming to an agreement about the referendum justifies “other options” for Catalonia’s citizens to be able to express themselves on how they want to decide their future. Catalonia's Minister of Justice, Carles Mundó, was also present at the signing of the manifesto.


More than two thirds of the citizens of Catalonia have for a long time been calling for a referendum to decide their future as a country”, says the opening line of the manifesto. And according to the signed document, in a democracy “it is the internal constitutional framework that allows the citizens to propose substantial changes in the political and territorial organization, and that provides instruments to channel this democratic aspiration”, just as it has “been recognized in Canada and the United Kingdom, where Scotland and Quebec have held, within the respective constitutional frameworks, referendums on secession”.

At the presentation of the jurists’ manifesto, the UAB Constitutional Law professor, Mercè Barceló, stated that the signers are in a position to affirm that the referendum is not a legal problem, but a political one. The current constitutional system does not exclude from legality individuals or groups who have an idea of the law or of social or territorial organization that differs from or is contradictory to that of the Constitution”, states the signed manifesto.

Figures like Jaume Asens, lawyer and fourth deputy mayor of Barcelona; Gemma Calvet, lawyer and former MP for Catalan Republican Left (ERC); Joan Queralt, University of Barcelona criminal law professor; and attorney Miquel Sàmper were also present during the subsequent debate.

During his remarks, Asens insisted that if Spain maintains its opposition towards negotiating about the referendum, “contemplating other options will be legitimized”. Catalans are already warning that they might organize a unilateral referendum if they do not get the Spanish government's approval to hold one. On the other hand, Calvet stressed that everything that is not prohibited is legal and she stated that rules should be fair.

“Law can never be a blocking mechanism for a society; on the contrary, it has to be the tool capable of coping with the concerns”, says the manifesto, and it continues “the law, as an instrument of conflict resolution, has to facilitate the resolution of this situation through a democratic procedure”. The former Catalan Republican Left MP said opposition to “exercising the right to decide” is “illegal”.

Other prominent people were present at the signing, including Joan Ignasi Elena, the coordinator of the National Pact for the Referendum; Francesc de Dalmases, another member of this body; Jordi Cuixart, the president of Òmnium Cultural; Jordi Turull, president of the cross-party pro-independence Junts Pel Sí coalition; Marc Sanglas and Lluís Llach, MPs from the left-wing coalition CSQP and Junts Pel Sí, respectively; David Cid, Green-Socialist party (ICV) board member and member of the alternative left coalition En Comú Podem group; lawyer Pep Cruanyes; Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer, the former president of the Catalan Government’s National Transition Advisory Council (CATN); and the philosopher, Josep Ramoneda. Among the first 30 to sign and support parts of the manifesto were Calvet, Cruanyes, president of the Commission for Dignity, and Sergi Blázquez, the lawyer and president of Rights.

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  • The Catalan Minister of Justice, Carles Mundó, with some of the lawyers that promoted the manifesto (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • The Catalan Minister of Justice, Carles Mundó, with some of the lawyers that promoted the manifesto (by Bernat Vilaró)