Call for local leaders to show commitment to referendum
Mayors asked to take "all actions required" to ensure holding of independence vote in manifesto to be launched Saturday
The two main associations representing towns in Catalonia are calling on mayors to show their willingness to ensure the independence referendum on October 1 is a success. The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), which represents 83% of Catalan municipalities, and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM in Catalan), which brings together 97% of local authorities, are calling on the country’s mayors to take part in an event this Saturday to show they are willing to cooperate in carrying out the referendum. By joining the event, the local representatives who take part will symbolically show their commitment to allowing the use of municipal facilities by the Catalan executive and helping “with all the actions required by the government,” says the manifesto to be read on Saturday.
The text compels the mayors who sign up to “work with the country’s institutions to guarantee that the whole of Catalan society is able to freely express itself and to give them an answer.” At the same time, it commits the local leaders who turn out on Saturday at Barcelona University’s main auditorium “to take no step backwards because of any political, legal or other kind of obstacle that Spain could orchestrate against holding the referendum,” according to the manifesto.
“As members elected through votes, we are responsible to the citizens”
Local leaders manifesto to be signed on Saturday
“As members elected through votes, we are responsible to the citizens,” says the statement, which also claims that the referendum is something that generates consensus in the country. Over 500,000 signatures in favor of an agreed referendum between Catalonia and Spain were gathered in a campaign led by the National Pact for the Referendum (PNR in Catalan) in about three months. The manifesto to be presented on Saturday regrets the fact that this has not been enough to convince Madrid to start talks on the issue.
Municipalities played a key role in the logistical organisation of the non-binding referendum held on November 9, 2014, with an overwhelming majority of them (942 out of 947) allowing the use of local facilities for the vote This made it possible for most people to have their say without needing to travel outside their municipality. While most towns governed by pro-referendum parties are expected to allow the Catalan government to use local premises, Socialist Party mayors differ in their opinions. Their party is officially against any kind of vote on self-determination and the main Spanish Socialist Party is considering penalizing mayors who collaborate with the vote, something a few of them have already stated they are planning to do.