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Catalan President holds round of talks with parties backing self-determination

As he announced on Tuesday, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has begun a round of talks with the leaders of the parties that ran in the last Catalan elections supporting the right to self-determination. Mas aims to gather views and proposals about future scenarios and early elections. This includes the parties that backed the current self-determination process and the organisation of a consultation vote on November 9, by reaching an agreement in December 2013. But it also includes the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which ran in November 2012 backing a legal self-determination vote but whose previous and current leaderships do not back the current process. After the talks, Mas will take a few days to think, and very likely to talk again with some parties, and on November 24 he will announce his own road map for the next few months.

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13 November 2014 09:24 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- As he announced on Tuesday, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has begun a round of talks with the leaders of the parties that run in the last Catalan elections supporting the right to self-determination. Mas aims to gather views and proposals about future scenarios and early elections. This includes the parties that backed the current self-determination process and the organisation of a consultation vote on November 9, by reaching an agreement in December 2013. But it also includes the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which ran in November 2012 backing a legal self-determination vote but whose previous and current leaderships do not back the current process. After the talks, Mas will take a few days to think, and very likely to talk again with some parties, and on November 24 he will announce his own road map for the next few months.


On Thursday morning, Mas met with the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, which whom he shared a parliamentary stability agreement for the last 2 years, and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). The PSC backs Catalonia’s right to self-determination but the PSOE does not. In the afternoon, Mas met with the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA and the alternative left and radical independence party CUP.

After meeting with opposition groups, it is expected he will meet the two parties forming the coalition he chairs: the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU. Mas will meet separately with the Liberal CDC (CiU’s largest force and Mas’ party) and the Christian-Democrat UDC. For the last 35 years, CDC and UDC have been running together and they formed a political federation in the early 2000s. However, with the independence debate, there have been tensions between both parties, since the CDC supports independence and UDC is divided on this issue, since its leadership backs a confederated Catalan state within Spain but many of its members want full independence.

Individual meetings with each party

After meeting with Mas, the ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, confirmed they will not back the Catalan Government’s budget for 2015. In addition, they insisted on calling early elections but they want a very clear calendar on which steps to take in the next few months in order to run together with the CDC and other parties. According to the polls, the ERC would almost double its results if elections were called.

The PSC leader, Miquel Iceta, asked Mas for “greater stability” and to not call early elections. According to the polls, the PSC would lose even more seats if elections were called. Besides, Iceta confirmed that they did not discuss the Catalan Government’s budget for 2015 in his meeting with Mas. However, the PSC has repeated on several occasions they are willing to back the Catalan Government’s budget, but they also ask for a wider agreement that would include putting aside early elections and the organisation of an independence vote.

In his meeting with Mas, the leader of the ICV-EUiA, Joan Herrera, argued that early elections should not substitute a specific consultation vote or binding referendum on independence. Therefore, he is ruling out the ERC’s proposal of transforming the next elections into a plebiscite on independence but also into “constituent elections” to start building the new state structures and drafting a new constitution. Furthermore, they asked the Catalan Government “to intensify” contacts at a Spanish, European and international level to gather support for Catalonia’s right to self-determination.

The CUP asked Mas for “immediate constituent elections” because after the last negative answer from the Spanish authorities, “there is no other way out”. However, the CUP MP David Fernández stated that they are refusing to run together with other parties in a single electoral list, such as with Mas’ Liberal CDC.

In the evening, Mas met separately with UDC and CDC, the two parties, forming the CiU. UDC’s Secretary General, Ramon Espadaler, argued they want not to end the current parliamentary term and they prefer holding elections when they are scheduled, in autumn 2016. For this reason, the UDC wants to look for alternative parliamentary allies to approve bills, including the 2015 budget, for the next two years. Furthermore, Espadaler said that the Catalan President did not tell him that early elections will take place in the next few months.

Finally, the CDC – which is the party Mas chairs – asked the Catalan President to lead “a shared electoral list” running with a single electoral promise: “starting independence” from Spain. The CDC’s General Coordinator, Josep Rull, told the press that one of their “jobs” in the next few weeks will be to convince UDC to join such a shared list.

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  • Besides the round of talks, the Catalan Parliament was holding a plenary session on Thursday (by A. Moldes)

  • Besides the round of talks, the Catalan Parliament was holding a plenary session on Thursday (by A. Moldes)