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Centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU agree to stop internal discussions on independence until 14 June

In the last few months, the two parties which form the centre-right pro-Catalan State federation CiU, and which have been running together every election since 1979, have been openly arguing about Catalonia's self-determination process and the way to build or not build a state independent from Spain. The Liberal party CDC, which is the largest force within the CiU, has turned towards openly supporting independence, although sometimes not in the most enthusiastic way. However, the Christian-Democrat party UDC seems to be divided on this issue, since its leader Josep-Antoni Duran i Lleida is openly campaigning against independence. But other party leaders and many of its members do support independence. The UDC has agreed on setting an official stance on independence through an internal participation process among its members, which has been finally set for 14 June, after the Municipal Elections of 24 May but before the crucial Catalan Parliament elections of 27 September. 

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16 March 2015 11:06 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Monday, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which has run the Catalan Government since 2010, held an Executive National Committee and agreed on putting internal discussions about independence on hold for the next 3 months, until after the Municipal elections of 24 May have taken place. In the last few months, the two parties which form the CiU, and which have been running together every election since 1979, have been openly arguing about Catalonia's self-determination process and the way to build or not build a state independent from Spain. The Liberal party CDC, which is the largest force within the CiU, has turned towards openly supporting independence, although sometimes not in the most enthusiastic way. However, the Christian-Democrat party UDC seems to be divided on this issue, since its leader Josep-Antoni Duran I Lleida – who has been running the smaller force within the CiU for the last 3 decades – is openly campaigning against independence. But other party leaders and many of its members do support independence. A hypothetical split of the CiU has been on the table for the last few months, but in the end the coalition will run together in the Municipal Elections due to take place in 2 months’ time. On Friday, the CDC signed a road map towards independence with other parties and civil society organisations, but the UDC had excluded itself from the agreement.


The UDC has postponed its internal decision about independence for a few months, while meanwhile the CiU continues to stay together. The UDC has agreed on setting an official stance on independence through an internal participation process among its members, which has been finally set for 14 June, after the Municipal Elections of 24 May but before the crucial Catalan Parliament elections of 27 September. The Catalan elections are to be transformed into a 'de facto' referendum on independence, since it is the only way left to hold a legal vote taking into account the Spanish Government's total opposition to even talking about Catalonia's right to self-determination.

Quarrelling for the last two weeks 

After months of discussions and isolated but frequent quarrels, internal tensions became quite strong in February and, particularly, during the last two weeks, when CDC and UDC leaders criticised each other in the media. Two weeks ago, Duran i Lleida criticised once again the Catalan Government's plans on independence and the Catalan Government replied back. A few days later, several CDC leading members, including mayors from small cities, criticised Duran and urged the UDC to embrace independence since many of its members were already supporting it. Then, last week, UDC leaders rushed to claim their party's own autonomy and ideology, as well as to defend Duran's leadership, while strongly criticising the CDC.

On Monday, the National Executive Committee officially did not discuss this recent crisis, stated CiU Secretary General, Ramon Espadaler, who is also the 'number 2' of UDC. Last Friday, some of the main representatives of the CDC and UDC met with the CiU leader and President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who is also the leader of the CDC, to discuss about these internal quarrels. After a long meeting, the parties stated that everything had been clarified and that they respected each other's' stance on independence and their internal decision-making process as two different parties. In addition, they urged their leaders, including mayors and other elected members, not to fight each other during the next few months and focus on the Municipal Elections ahead.

The UDC respects CDC's pro-independence stance and the CDC respects UDC's calendar

After the National Executive Committee, Ramon Espadaler stated that "the UDC [Christian-Democrat party within the CiU], as it cannot be otherwise, respects the signature of this preliminary agreement that CDC [Liberal party within the CiU] has reached with other political parties about the road map [for building an independent Catalan State]. Therefore, scrupulous and absolute respect for this signature, in the same way as CDC scrupulously respects the calendar that UDC has set; a calendar that establishes 14 June as the day to decide about the road map, with the shared will – shared by CDC and UDC – to make the different existing proposals fit together. However, we will do this at the right time and, for obvious reasons, not before 14 June, the day when the entire UDC, and not only its leadership, will definitely fix UDC's position regarding independence. However, [I would like to] emphasise the disposition for mutual respect within the CiU regarding the shaping-process of what we call the road map".

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  • Artur Mas (left) and Ramon Espadaler (right) at the CiU's Executive National Committee on Monday (by P. Mateos)

  • Artur Mas (left) and Ramon Espadaler (right) at the CiU's Executive National Committee on Monday (by P. Mateos)
Centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU agree to stop internal discussions on independence until 14 June