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Catalan Government sends referendum law to world’s foreign departments

Exterior ministry publishes memorandum justifying the legislation and presenting it as ‘a democratic response’ to the ongoing conflict with Spain

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01 August 2017 04:22 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan Government’s Ministry of Institutional Affairs and Relations and the Exterior and Transparency has sent a copy of the referendum law registered in the Catalan Parliament on Monday to all the offices of foreign affairs around the world. According to a number of media outlets, and confirmed by sources in the exterior ministry, a copy of the referendum law was sent along with a memorandum explaining that the legislation is “a democratic response” to the Spanish Constitutional Court ruling on the Statute of Autonomy, which “broke Spain’s Constitutional Pact of 1978.”

The memo also justifies the law by pointing to the Spanish State’s unwillingness to negotiate a political solution to Catalonia’s “legitimate demands”, with its only response being “a judicial offensive against those supporting the calling of a referendum.” The exterior ministry’s memo also refers to the restriction of Catalonia’s self-government through “a process of recentralizing powers” and “a highly restrictive interpretation of the Spanish Constitution by the Constitutional Court.” The document also explains that the legislation is to be approved at the beginning of September once the Catalan Parliament returns from summer recess.

Also included in the memorandum is an explanation of the origins of the referendum law. Citing “three realities”, the document refers to “the need to find a political solution to the political conflict with the Spanish Government,” the need to respond to the demand of voters in Catalonia, “which has created a Government and a parliamentary majority that needs to provide a response in accordance with democratic principles,” and the existence of an international legal framework which makes possible both a referendum on independence, “as well as the creation of a new State in Europe, based on the obligation of States to democratically manage their disagreements, respect for human basic rights and freedoms, people’s right to free determination, and the right to remedial secession.”

Finally, the memo states that once the law is passed, it will “govern all the procedures for voting on October 1 with all the necessary democratic guarantees” and will include “common, internationally-comparable mechanisms for electoral processes,” such as the establishment of an electoral authority, the makeup of polling station committees, electoral rolls and the premises in which voting will be held.

Yet, the copy of the law sent to the world’s foreign ministries has some small differences with the one presented at Catalonia’s National Theater at the beginning of July. A number of articles, for example, avoid explicit reference to the publication of electoral results in the Official Journal of the Government of Catalonia (DOGC in Catalan). The new text also refers to the administrative area of Aran, with ballot papers to be supplied in the Occitan language.

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  • Part of the memorandum sent to world’s foreign departments (www.exteriors.gencat.cat)

  • Part of the memorandum sent to world’s foreign departments (www.exteriors.gencat.cat)

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