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National Alliance for Self-Determination avoids calling 27 September elections a "plebiscite" but urges Catalans to vote

After months of discussions between parties and civil society organisations, the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination, which comprises more than 3,000 different groups, have met once again and announced a minimum consensus on the 27 September elections: citizens must participate in them "to decide" Catalonia's future. However, the Alliance avoided using the word "plebiscite", since some parties and organisations think that the next elections are not a 'de facto' referendum on independence. After the symbolic vote that took place on 9 November last, forces supporting Catalonia's self-determination process have been openly quarrelling on the next steps to follow in order to ensure a binding vote on independence. In mid-January, after reaching an agreement with the left wing pro-independence party ERC, the President of the Catalan Government and leader of the centre right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, announced early elections for 27 September, to be transformed into a 'de facto' independence plebiscite.

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06 March 2015 09:41 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- After months of discussions between parties and civil society organisations, the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination, which comprises more than 3,000 groups, have met once again and announced a minimum consensus on the 27 September elections: citizens must participate in them "to decide" Catalonia's future. However, the Alliance avoided using the terms "plebiscite" or "referendum", since some parties and organisations think that the next elections are not a 'de facto' referendum on independence. After the symbolic vote that took place on 9 November, parties and civil society organisations supporting Catalonia's self-determination process have been openly quarrelling on the next steps to follow in order to ensure that citizens can hold a binding vote on independence from Spain despite the blocking attitude of the Spanish authorities. In mid-January, after reaching an agreement with the left wing pro-independence party ERC, the President of the Catalan Government and leader of the centre right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, announced early elections for 27 September that are to be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. Mas emphasised that this was the only way Catalans could hold a vote on this issue after the 'no-to-everything' by Spanish authorities during the last two-and-a-half years. However, not all the parties and associations supporting independence share Mas' and the ERC's road map. With Friday's meeting, the Alliance has highlighted once again its support for Catalonia's "right to decide its own future" and in this vein urged Catalans to participate in the next elections.


The Alliance is a "pluralistic" platform, but there is "a unity" backing Catalonia's right to self-determination

Joan Rigol, Coordinator of the National Alliance, highlighted on Friday the "pluralistic" nature of this platform, with some organisations "believing that Catalonia's future goes towards one thing and others who believe that it goes towards another thing", an alliance formed of organisation "who think that the best strategy is this one or this other one", he said. However, Rigol stressed that after Friday's meeting the "spirit of unity" of the groups backing the right to self-determination "remains", which is "essential", he added. "I personally think that after this meeting, which follows the one we held just before 9 November [the day  on which the symbolic independence vote took place], this crosscutting spirit that backs the Alliance remains, because this crosscutting unity and trust towards the Alliance’s institutionalisation may be needed sometime in the future", he concluded.

The ICV-EUiA and CCOO do not consider the 27 September elections to be a plebiscite

The main organisations that disagree about Mas' strategy are the post-Communist trade union CCOO and the Catalan Green Socialist, but the post-Communist coalition ICV-EUiA, which is the third-largest political group supporting the self-determination process, did not see it this way and stressed that on 27 September citizens will also vote on the social model and budget cuts, among many other issues. For ICV's National Coordinator, Dolors Camats, such elections "cannot substitute" a proper referendum, even though the Spanish authorities are totally blocking it.

Last weekend, after two years of ambiguity, the ICV-EUiA agreed on supporting the creation of a sovereign Catalan State that would be integrated within a federal Spain, ruling out independence. However, they added that if the Spanish authorities continue to block it and Catalans cannot freely decide on their collective future as a nation, they will then reconsider their position and discuss whether to fully back independence. Therefore, the ICV-EUiA wants to empower Catalans to decide their future to choose staying within a re-founded pluri-national and federal Spain. Such a decision has caused important members of the ICV-EUiA to leave the party, most significantly Raül Romeva, who was a Member of the European Parliament for 10 years (2004-2014) and is openly backing Catalonia's independence.

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  • The National Alliance for Self-Determination meeting at the Catalan Parliament's auditorium (by B. Fuentes)

  • Joan Rigol, addressing the press after the National Alliance for Self-Determination's meeting (by R. Garrido)

  • The National Alliance for Self-Determination meeting at the Catalan Parliament's auditorium (by B. Fuentes)
  • Joan Rigol, addressing the press after the National Alliance for Self-Determination's meeting (by R. Garrido)
Joan Rigol addressing the press after the National Alliance for Self-Determination's meeting (by ACN)