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Main unionist party accuses independence leaders of abandoning ship

Leader of Ciutadans calls for an end to “smoke and mirrors” from secessionist movement

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21 February 2018 06:57 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Pro-independence leaders are beginning to abandon their secessionist cause, claims the head of Ciutadans (Cs), the unionist party with the most seats in the Catalan parliament. “Everyone is going back on what they have said and done, and it doesn’t surprise me because this is going nowhere,” said Cs leader Inés Arrimadas on Wednesday.

Calling on the independence movement to stop “wasting time and opportunities, while losing friends along the way,” Arrimadas called for an end to “smoke and mirrors.” The Cs leader made her comments after former Catalan president Artur Mas appeared to play down the significance of the bid for independence in a radio interview earlier in the day.

“There is a symbolic and aesthetic component to the political world, and often an argument is blown up or exaggerated, so you can come out of it as well as possible,” said Mas in relation to the declaration of independence made by the Catalan parliament on October 27, which the former president described in the interview as “purely symbolic”.

Accusing the Catalan government of showing a “lack of respect” towards those members of the public opposed to independence, Arrimadas nevertheless welcomed Mas’ words: “If only he had said this eight years ago and not now, and had not fed false hopes and above all what has been a nightmare for most Catalans,” she said.

Arguing that the efforts to bring about independence “have not borne fruit,” Arrimadas said Catalonia now needs a “stable” government that “respects the law”. While Ciutadans got the most votes in the December election, the pro-independence parties have a majority in the chamber but have still to agree on a formula for forming a new government.

Rajoy’s “battle for the supremacy of justice”

Nor were Ciutadans the only ones hitting out at the independence movement on Wednesday. Spanish president Mariano Rajoy told a meeting of international centre-right parties that his government is facing “the challenge of illegal and unilateral secessionism championed by Catalan independence supporters.” Insisting that his executive “had given battle for the supremacy of the law and justice,” Rajoy went on to express his gratitude that “no country in the world” had supported the bid for independence in Catalonia.

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  • Ciutadans leader Inés Arrimadas in a press conference (by ACN)

  • Ciutadans leader Inés Arrimadas in a press conference (by ACN)