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APF head hails Catalonia’s ‘democratic strategy’

President of French-speaking parliamentary assembly, Jacques Chagnon, calls Catalans ‘big enough and serious enough to make their own decisions’

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12 July 2017 04:44 PM

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ACN | Luxembourg

Catalonia has “a sincere and interesting democratic strategy” says the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF in French), Jacques Chagnon. The Quebec parliamentary president and new head of the organization that represents the parliaments of 83 French-speaking countries and regions told ACN that “the Catalans are big enough and serious enough to make their own decisions" in the October 1 referendum. “We cannot deny reality, we know that there are particular problems in Spain that Canada did not have,” admitted Chagnon, but he urged the Spanish and Catalan governments to resolve their differences, “a little like England and Scotland did a few years ago.”

While stressing that the APF avoids “interfering in the internal politics of countries,” Chagnon, who met with Catalan parliament president, Carme Forcadell, on Sunday in Luxembourg, nevertheless pointed out that as a multilateral organization the parliamentary assembly has an interest in “guaranteeing that the democratic work done by a parliament can be appraised.”

It is for this reason that the APF’s political committee has chosen to tackle the Catalan situation when it next meets in spring next year. “We will let everyone talk about it and come to conclusions within the framework of a lawful organization,” he pledged.

  • “We cannot deny reality, we know that there are particular problems in Spain that Canada did not have”

    Jacques Chagnon · President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie 

Referring to referendums as “useful democratic tools”, Chagnon admitted that there are many issues, such as the question posed, that decide whether “a referendum is generally accepted or not.” Calling the situation in Catalonia “difficult”, he insisted that on an international level "one of the basic notions to respect is what the people choose and then accept it."

While not a French speaking country, the Catalan Parliament has been part of the Francophonie assembly as an observer member since 2008. In their conversation on Sunday, Chagnon and Forcadell spoke about “strengthening” relations between the Catalan and Quebec parliaments. According to the Quebec chamber’s president, both share “significant solidarity” as well as “modern and increasingly diverse societies” that “understand each other well.”

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  • Jacques Chagnon, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF in French)

  • Jacques Chagnon, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF in French)

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