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Torra's speech “ignores half of Catalonia,” says opposition leader

Spanish government calls on Catalan leader to "make steps forward" to engage in dialogue

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05 September 2018 12:25 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The leader of the opposition in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, reacted to President Quim Torra's speech on Tuesday evening to relaunch the independence campaign by accusing him of "ignoring half of Catalonia."

Arrimadas said the head of the executive "is putting institutions at the service of the independence movement, raising tension on the streets, and strengthening the propaganda abroad and disobedience [to Spanish law]."

The leader of the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs) in Catalonia also appealed to the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, to "react and protect" citizens.

Spain's cabinet spokeswoman Isabel Celaá also reacted to the speech, calling on Torra to "take steps towards" engaging in dialogue with Madrid.

The spokeswoman coincided with Arrimadas in saying that Torra's speech was only focused on citizens supporting independence and she reminded the Catalan president that he will have to abide by the future verdict on the prosecuted political leaders no matter what.

Yet in his speech, Torra insisted he would not accept any verdict other than one allowing the prisoners to go free. "Either freedom or freedom," he said.

Socialists reject self-determination vote

Nor was the Catalan Socialist party (PSC) positive about Torra's speech. Spokeswoman, Eva Granados, accused Torra of "returning to paths that lead to failure," in his attempt to relaunch the independence roadmap.

  • "[Torra] is putting institutions at the service of the independence movement, raising tensions on the streets and strengthening the propaganda abroad and disobedience"

    Inés Arrimadas · Ciutadans leader in Catalonia

Following the response of the Spanish government and Cs, Granados also criticized Torra for "only" addressing "independence supporters," and she rejected the president's call for a referendum saying "the solution" to the political conflict is a vote on greater self-government and constitutional reform.

ERC: "We feel well represented"

However, Torra's address was welcomed by the pro-independence Esquerra party (ERC), which is part of the Catalan executive. ERC felt "very well represented" by Torra's speech, said party spokesman Sergi Sabrià on Wednesday morning.

"When the president spoke about going back to major consensus we felt very well represented; we are happy with the result yesterday," said Sabrià, who added: "Our joint efforts can be seen.

Torra's words "generate confusion," says CUP

As for the far left pro-independence CUP party, they were critical of Torra's speech. Party spokesman, Carles Riera, said on Wednesday that "generating expectations of dialogue with the State delays the inevitable and generates confusion."

For CUP, which favors a unilateral approach to independence, the speech created "false expectations" and Riera insisted that Torra's intention to seek talks with the central authorities is "useless and inefficient."

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  • Leader of the opposition Inés Arrimadas (by ACN)

  • Leader of the opposition Inés Arrimadas (by ACN)

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