Catalan President suggests “necessary” referendum debate in Congress
Puigdemont writes the President of the Spanish Parliament asking for a date to present his independence vote plans before the chamber
The president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, wrote a letter to the president of the Spanish Congress on Friday asking her to hold a debate in the chamber about the independence referendum plans. "I think it's important for all members of Congress to be able to hear from me, as president of Catalonia, the reasons why we are in this situation and why my government asked to negotiate a referendum proposal with the Spanish executive," Puigdemont wrote in the letter to Ana Pastor.
According to him, a debate in the Spanish Congress about the referendum is "necessary" and would be "significant". However, the Catalan president rejected putting his plans to a vote, arguing that previous attempts by Catalan groups to do so have always "regretfully" been rejected and insisting that the independence ballot is already scheduled for October 1.
In his letter, seen by the CNA, Puigdemont reminded Pastor that Mariano Rajoy's government had refused to negotiate the possibility of a referendum. He also explained that the Spanish executive wanted him to present the referendum plans before Congress, something that Puigdemont was only willing to do in the event that there was a prior agreement between Madrid and Barcelona on the terms of the vote.
"It's important for all members of Congress to be able to hear from me, as president of Catalonia, the reasons why we are in this situation"
Carles Puigdemont · Catalan President
"In the last few years, Congress has discussed proposals from different parliamentary groups to solve the demands of the majority of the people in Catalonia. Regretfully, their legitimate aspirations have always been refused, diminished, or left unfulfilled," he said in his letter.
According to him, it is therefore "unreasonable" to put the proposals to another vote in Madrid. In other words, without the cooperation of the Spanish government, the referendum plans will never be approved in Congress and Puigdemont would rather hold a vote without Spain's agreement than give up.
Puigdemont suggested the debate in Congress should be held as soon as possible, as the independence vote is already scheduled for October 1. According to the Catalan president, a public discussion about such an important issue is "what citizens expect from their institutions".
The Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, rejected Mr. Puigdemont's proposal last week, saying that Congress "is not a conference center". The last word is now for Speaker Ana Pastor, who is also from the governing party in Spain, Rajoy's PP.