Summit to organise independence referendum to be held on 23 December
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has summoned the members of the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination to meet on the 23rd of December to start organising the referendum on independence. The summit, in compliance with the resolutions adopted at the general policy debate in October, will be chaired by Puigdemont and the President of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell. As sources close to the presidency have told the Catalan News Agency, the meeting will be held in the Parliament just after it has given green light to the 2017 budget. The aim of the meeting is to find political and social consensus around the organisation of the referendum to be held next September 2017. According to the Spanish Government spokesman, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, the meeting is a “symptom of unilateralism”, resulting from requests from “the radicals of the CUP”.
Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has called all members of the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination to a summit on the 23rd of December. The aim of the meeting is to find political and social consensus around the organisation of the referendum on independence to be held next September 2017. As sources close to the presidency have told the CNA, the summit will be held in the Catalan Parliament just after the budget debate. The Catalan President set the meeting date after finding that repeated calls for dialogue from the Spanish Government have not resulted in any material actions. These same sources insisted that although Catalan Government’s will to agree on a referendum with Spain remains, preparations to celebrate it no matter what also continues. In the same vein, the Spanish Government spokesman, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, said this Friday that the summit is a “symptom of unilateralism” that is a result of an imposition from the “radicals of the CUP”.
The summit on the referendum is a commitment approved by governing cross-party list ‘Junts pel Sí’ (JxSí) and the pro-independence radical left CUP in the general policy debate in Parliament last October. The Parliament also approved another resolution with the votes of alternative left Catalunya Sí Que es Pot (CSQP), which aims at attempting an agreed referendum with the Spanish Government.
Puigdemont has summoned parties, entities and socio-economic organisations, and members of the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination to approach the preparations for the referendum. The Catalan President and the President of Parliament, Carme Forcadell, will chair the meeting which is to be held in the Parliament after the chamber gives the green light to the budget.
The announcement is part of the roadmap, known as “referendum or referendum”, set by the Catalan President and is in compliance with the resolutions adopted at the general policy debate in October.
The last meetings of the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination were held in March 2015, to discuss the 27-S elections, and November 2014, at the gates of the 9-N symbolic vote. The meetings have been regularly attended by representatives of the former ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU), left-wing pro-independence ERC, CUP and Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition ICV-EUia. Many organisations have also attended the meetings: the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the civil society association Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for the Independence (AMI) and the pro-independence association of Spanish-speakers Súmate. There have also been represented trade unions such as CECOT, Catalonia’s main SME association PIMEC, and the General Council of Chambers of Commerce of Catalonia, among others.
An opportunity to “put dialogue ahead of confrontation”
The delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, said this Friday that the summit on the referendum is an “opportunity” to “put dialogue ahead of confrontation”. Thus, he called on the participating entities to undertake “reflection” to prevent a “collision that nobody wants and that would be a collective failure”. “If there are meetings of pro-independence organisations, they also have to serve as opportunities to reflect on the need to modify the course from a collision, by diverting it to a course to fruition”, he explained.
The Spanish Government spokesman, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, said this Friday that the summit is a “symptom of unilateralism” and a result of a requirement of the “radicals of the CUP”. According to Méndez de Vigo, after this decision the Catalan citizens will determine “who is ready to dialogue and who is ready for unilateralism”. In this sense, he reiterated the request for Puigdemont to attend the Conference of Presidents that the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, convened earlier this year. “The Government finds it very strange that the president of an Autonomous Community, whatever it is, does not attend”, he said, and added that “it seems as if he was not interested in the problems that concern the people”.
Méndez de Vigo also explained that the Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, called on all members of Rajoy’s Government to intensify their contacts with the Catalan Ministers. However, Spanish executive sources deem it difficult to hold the scheduled meetings between Mariano Rajoy and Carles Puigdemont, on the one hand, and Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and the Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, on the other, before Christmas.