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Catalan President wants to talk with Rajoy about the self-determination vote

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that he wants to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, in order to convince him “to allow or tolerate” Catalonia’s self-determination vote. In the yearly live interview at the Catalan Public Television Broadcaster (TV3), Mas challenged Rajoy to make “an attractive offer” to the Catalan people, instead of “saying ‘no’ to everything”. Mas proposed that Catalan citizens vote on the Spanish authorities’ offer and on the independence option. Furthermore, the Catalan President insisted he is willing to change the question wording and dateof the self-determination vote if the Spanish Government agrees on a formulation similar to the Scottish referendum.

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17 December 2013 03:02 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that he wants to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, in order to convince him “to allow or tolerate” Catalonia’s self-determination vote. In the yearly live interview at the Catalan Public Television Broadcaster (TV3), which took place on Monday evening, Mas challenged Rajoy to make “an attractive offer” to the Catalan people, instead of “saying ‘no’ to everything”. If this offer arrived, it would show “a constructive attitude” on the part of the Spanish authorities, he said. Mas proposed that Catalan citizens vote on the Spanish authorities’ offer and on the independence option. “If the Spanish State has an attractive offer, we should put the offer made by the Spanish authorities and that made by the Catalans to the vote” he said. However the Catalan President admitted that he had serious doubts at this moment that the Spanish Government would in fact make such an offer. Mas insisted that, until now, the Spanish Prime Minister has said ‘no’ to allowing or even talking about a demand shared by a wide majority of Catalans, which is to hold a self-determination vote. “Is this the answer of a democratic person?” he wondered.


Willing to modify the question wording and date of the self-determination vote

Furthermore, the Catalan President insisted he is willing to change the question wording and date of the self-determination vote – which were announced last week – if the Spanish Government agrees on a formulation similar to the Scottish referendum. “If they told us, [the question] cannot have two parts, it can only have one part which is the same as that in Scotland’s case – an independent state, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – I would agree” on this formulation, he affirmed. In addition, Mas announced that an agreement with the Spanish Government allowing Catalans to vote on their independence from Spain would be backed by all the parties supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination. In fact, he admitted that all the parties would be “more comfortable” with an agreement with the Spanish Government. “We have the greatest interest in having an agreed [self-determination] question” he emphasised. For these reasons he will try to meet with Rajoy, although the meeting might not be public, he announced.

Spain will not be able to stop Catalans from voting “in some way”

Finally, Mas warned the Spanish establishment that they will not be able to stop Catalans voting “in some way”. He pointed out that if the self-determination vote scheduled for November 9, 2014 is prohibited, further elections will come. For instance he stressed that Catalan elections have legally to take place before the end of 2016, so they could become a true “plebiscite”. “You cannot avoid it, unless elections are cancelled, which would be a spectacular scandal at world level” Mas said to the Spanish authorities. In addition, he argued that, since Catalans will vote asnyway on the issue, “it is better to organise an agreed vote”.

Insisting on the need to hold a “legal vote” and rejecting “tense” situations

However, he has ruled out the possibility of creating “tense” situations, such as putting the Catalan Police on the street to ensure the holding of a hypothetical referendum with the opposition of the Spanish Government. The Catalan President insisted once again that he aims to find a negotiated solution with Spain to allow Catalan citizens to vote democratically and freely on their future in “a legal” consultation vote. Lastly, he rejected the possibility of holding a referendum in the whole of Spain to decide on Catalonia’s future, since “this is not a Spanish issue” and Catalans are the only ones who can decide on their own collective future.

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  • A moment of TV3's interview to the President of the Catalan Government (by J. Bedmar)

  • A moment of TV3's interview to the President of the Catalan Government (by J. Bedmar)