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Former Spanish Minister aimed to stop symbolic referendum by force

Former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Garcia Margallo, wanted to stop the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014 by force, he said Wednesday during a conference with former Catalan VP, Joana Ortega. Ortega was recently banned from public office by the Spanish Constitutional Court precisely for allowing the non-official referendum. According to Margallo’s version, he suggested the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs at the time, Jorge Fernández Díaz, suspend the consultation by taking over the Catalan Police and destroying the ballot boxes. He added that not following his advice “was a mistake” and recommended a similar action to stop the referendum scheduled for September 2017. A vote which Rajoy rejected again this Wednesday in the Spanish Parliament.

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10 May 2017 05:36 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Garcia Margallo, wanted to stop the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014 by force he said Wednesday during a conference with former Catalan Vice-President, Joana Ortega. Ortega was recently banned from public office by the Spanish Constitutional Court precisely for allowing the non-official referendum. According to Margallo’s version, he suggested the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, and the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs at that time, Jorge Fernández Díaz, suspend the consultation by taking over the Catalan Police and destroying the ballot boxes. He added that not following his advice “was a mistake” and recommended a similar action to stop the referendum scheduled for September 2017. A vote which Rajoy rejected again this Wednesday in the Spanish Parliament.


“My suggestion was to ask the Catalan Government to seize and destroy the ballots and the boxes and if they refused to do so, put the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalan Police] under the Spanish Minister for Home Affairs’ commandment for 24 hours for them to do so.  At the same time, negotiations on reforming the Spanish Constitution, protecting the linguistic rights of the Catalan citizens and improving their funding system should have been begun,” Margallo explained. He admitted that Rajoy and Fernández Díaz rejected his proposal and considered it “imprudent”.

A dismissal which, according to Margallo, “was a mistake”. Indeed, he admitted that if he were still a minister he would suggest “exactly the same approach” for the current situation, that is to say, to stop the referendum that the Catalan Government has committed itself to calling by September 2017. “I would do whatever it may take to prevent anything which is against the law from happening,” he said. “I promised to adhere and make others adhere to the Spanish Constitution,” he added. 

However, he warned the Spanish Government that the current deadlock with Catalonia “cannot be solved only through the courts” nor by using the Spanish Constitutional Court to block of all the Catalan Government’s demands. “We need to solve this politically so let’s keep the bridges of dialogue open,” he said.

Catalan VP travelled to Madrid to reach an agreement

In this vein, former Catalan VP, Joana Ortega, insisted that the Catalan Government “kept its willingness to open a dialogue” before and after the symbolic vote in 2014. Indeed, she admitted that only a week before the non-official referendum took place. she secretly met with the Spanish VP, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría but she could only get a “no” from her. “I tried to explain to her the citizens’ demands but I had the impression that all I had before me was a vice president talking about a hermetic Constitution which was impossible to modify,” said Ortega.

To emphasize that the Catalan Government is still open for dialogue, Ortega pointed out that last week Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, offered once again to negotiate the terms of the referendum.

Rajoy insisted that the referendum “can’t be held”

This Wednesday, Spanish President insisted once again that the referendum in Catalonia won’t be celebrated. In an answer to Carles Campuzano, Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT’s spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Rajoy warned that the vote “can’t be held”. “You know perfectly well that according to the Spanish Constitution, national sovereignty belongs to the Spaniards as a whole,” Rajoy warned and added that he “as well as the vast majority of Spaniards” prefer Spanish citizens “to continue to live together, like always”. He suggested that, instead, pro-independence parties should propose modifications to the Constitution and put them to a vote among all Spaniards.

For his part, Campuzano insisted that Catalonia will call the referendum “sooner or later” and invited the Spanish President to “sit down and open a dialogue”. 

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  • Former Spanish Minsiter for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García Margallo (by ACN)

  • Former Spanish Minsiter for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García Margallo (by ACN)
Margallo aimed to stop 9N by force