77% of the Catalan Parliament supports Catalonia’s right to self-determination through a legal citizen vote
The Catalan Parliament has approved the same declaration that the Spanish Parliament rejected 2 weeks ago with 104 votes out of the 135 MPs. The text urges the Spanish and Catalan governments to talk and agree on the organisation of a legal self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) presented the proposal, which also received the votes from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Executive, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA). The radical left-wing and independence party (CUP) abstained. The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, and the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (C’s) opposed the vote.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday, the Catalan Parliament approved a declaration supporting Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination and urging the Spanish and Catalan governments to talk in order to organise a legal citizen vote. The declaration has been approved by 77% of the MPs, representing 104 votes out of the 135 MPs, from four different political groups: the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) \u2013 which presented the declaration, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) \u2013 which runs the Catalan Government, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) \u2013 which is the second largest party, and the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA). These four parliamentary groups represent all the parties supporting Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination except one, the radical left-wing and independence party CUP, whose 3 MPs abstained because they are sceptical whether the Spanish Government will ever allow a self-determination vote. The 28 MPs that opposed the declaration were from the People\u2019s Party (PP) \u2013 which runs the Spanish Government \u2013 and the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (C\u2019s). The approved declaration is almost the same as the one the Spanish Parliament rejected on the 26th of February, which was then approved by the PSC, caused a political storm within the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), to which the PSC is federated. Besides, on Wednesday the President of the Catalan Government and CiU\u2019s leader, Artur Mas, emphasised that Catalonia\u2019s self-determination vote will always be organised within the legal framework.
A previous \u2018Declaration of sovereignty and the right to self-determination by the people of Catalonia\u2019 had been approved
On the 23rd of January, the Catalan Parliament approved a \u2018Declaration of sovereignty and the right to self-determination by the people of Catalonia\u2019 which was approved with 85 votes, representing 66.4% of the MPs who voted. The votes came from the CiU, ERC, ICV-EUiA and CUP. At the time, a quarter of the PSC MPs refused to vote because the PSC officially opposed the declaration as the party leadership thought that the Spanish Constitution should be modified through an agreement at Spanish level before a self-determination vote was organised. Then, the PSC highlighted that the Spanish Constitution, which was negotiated and approved just after Franco\u2019s death and with the military Fascist dictatorship still occupying many positions of power, stated that \u201Csovereignty is rooted in the Spanish people as a whole\u201D. The PSC defends that this has to be changed, although the PP and the PSOE \u2013 which completely control the Spanish Parliament and almost all regional parliaments in Spain \u2013 totally oppose. Others in Catalonia consider that there is a clash of legitimacies since the will of the Catalan people cannot be neglected and, furthermore, the will of people is ultimately the source of all legal frameworks.
Urging the Spanish Government to talk and reach an agreement allowing Catalans to vote
The declaration approved today by the Catalan Parliament eludes the sovereignty issue. The approved text urges the Spanish Government and the Catalan Executive to talk in order to allow the organisation of a self-determination vote in Catalonia, allowing Catalan citizens to decide on their collective future and Catalonia\u2019s relationship with Spain. However, it does not indicate a direction to take if the Spanish Government persists in its attitude of refusing to negotiate this issue or reach any agreement at all.
A declaration approved by 77% of the Parliament
Nonetheless, the CiU, the ERC and the ICV-EUiA \u2013 who supported the \u2018Declaration of sovereignty\u2019 \u2013 are willing to give their support to the new text in order add the PSC to the formal agreement reached in the Catalan Parliament which clearly supports Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination. They want to show clear, wide and unquestionable support for Catalonia\u2019s self-determination, resulting from the electoral mandate from the 25th of November elections. With this declaration, supported by 77% of the MPs, the Catalan Parliament has passed the ball to the Spanish Government, since the Catalan Executive has already insisted that it wants to reach an agreement to allow the citizen vote.
The PSC does not support independence but supports Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination
The PSC\u2019s Secretary General, Pere Navarro, summed up its stance this way: \u201CI support democracy\u201D and \u201CI support the people\u2019s right to decide on their future\u201D. Navarro emphasised that he \u201Cdoes not support Catalonia\u2019s independence from Spain\u201D. \u201CI am a federalist\u201D he insisted. However, he said that he supports \u201Cthe right to vote\u201D and once the vote comes he will oppose independence. This is in fact the PSC\u2019s official stance, as opposed to the PSOE, which refuses the right of Catalans to vote on their collective future. The PSC urges the modification of the legal framework in order to allow such a vote, but the main parties at Spanish level \u2013 PP and PSOE \u2013 refuse to even discuss it.
In his parliamentary intervention, Navarro also reminded the government of January\u2019s vote and lamented that at that time the CiU, the ERC and ICV-EUiA wanted to insist on a proposal that would not find a consensus of more than three quarters of the Catalan Parliament. \u201CWe could have got the support of more than 100 MPs back then. Why not start this way?\u201D he stated. Navarro asked the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to insist on the dialogue path. Navarro said that if Mas follows a dialogue path, they \u201Cwill support\u201D him.
\u201CWhat are they going to do\u201D \u201Cwhen it is confirmed that the Spanish State does not want to talk\u201D?
However, the Spokesperson from the ERC, Marta Rovira, asked Navarro what they are going to do \u201Cwhen the dialogue is over\u201D, \u201Cwhen it is confirmed that the Spanish State does not want to talk\u201D. If this finally happens, Rovira has asked the PSC to stand by the Catalan people and their collective will, which is \u201Cabove any other power\u201D. Also, according to her, this is in fact the sovereignty principle included in January\u2019s declaration. \u201CThe vote [on Catalonia\u2019s self-determination] cannot be tied to the lack of dialogue from the Spanish Government\u201D, she stated. \u201CSince the Spanish Government has denied until now Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination, we cannot stop asking ourselves what we are going to do after trying to talk so many times and our dialogue is seen as a monologue\u201D, she wondered.
An answer to the Spanish Government\u2019s decision to take the previous declaration to the Constitutional Court
The CiU\u2019s spokesperson, Jordi Turull, appreciated that the PSC supported Catalonia\u2019s self-determination right in the Spanish Parliament, opposing the PSOE two weeks ago. According to Turull, the text approved today does not dilute January\u2019s Declaration of sovereignty, but it strengthens it. \u201CIt is the best answer, the widest possible reaction to the fact that the Spanish Government took the declaration to the Constitutional Court\u201D, Turull stated. In this vein, he celebrated the fact that the Catalan Parliament\u2019s answer to the Spanish Government is to approve another declaration supporting Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination but this time with a wider majority, with more than 100 MPs, representing almost 80% of the Parliament.
\u201CToday we are enlarging the base of those supporting Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination\u201D
\u201CIt is great news that today we are enlarging the base of those supporting Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination, voting for what we had already voted for a month and a half ago but in a wider way\u201D, stated the ICV-EUiA leader, Joan Herrera. He was particularly satisfied that with this vote, the PSC has joined \u201Cthe central stance of \u2018Catalanism\u2019\u201D, which is now clearly anchored in the right of Catalans to decide on their collective future regarding Spain.
For the PP, the PSC has \u201Cjoined the secessionist mad race\u201D
The Deputy Spokesperson for the PP, which runs the Spanish Government, Santi Rodríguez, said that with this vote the Catalan Socialists have \u201Cjoined the secessionist mad race\u201D and they contribute to the \u201Cfracture between Catalonia and Spain\u201D. Rodríguez lamented that Navarro, with his attitude, is serving the CiU\u2019s interests. Furthermore, he asked the CiU, the Catalan Government and the PSC to abandon the independence debate and to focus \u201Con solving the problems that truly concern Catalans, specifically unemployment and the recovery from the crisis\u201D.
The PSC, the \u201CTrojan horse of secessionism in the Parliament\u201D
The leader of the C\u2019s, Albert Rivera, criticised the fact that Navarro \u201Cplays the game set by the independence supporters\u201D. Rivera lamented that Navarro is \u201Cin favour of the fracture between Catalonia and Spain\u201D. \u201CUntil when are you going to be the Trojan horse of secessionism in the Parliament?\u201D, he asked the PSC leader.
The 3 MPs from the CUP have abstained because they support an immediate independence referendum
Finally, the MP from the CUP, Quim Arrufat, explained that they could not give their support to the declaration, and therefore give it 107 votes (79.3% of the Parliament), because they did not believe that the Spanish Government will ever allow a self-determination vote. Arrufat remarked on the electorate mandate resulting from the last elections, \u201Cwhich already were a plebiscite on Catalonia\u2019s right to self-determination\u201D. Therefore, anything that is not holding such a vote would be committing fraud towards the Catalan people\u2019s will. In addition, they lamented the \u201Cdirty war\u201D played by the Spanish Government against the Catalan institutions. According to them, holding a dialogue with Madrid would let the Spanish Government \u201Cgain time\u201D and continue with its \u201Cdirty war\u201D.