Catalan President: "We are ready" for the 9 November independence vote
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated on Tuesday that the self-determination process is following 3 principles: respect for "the law and dialogue", "but also democracy", which will guarantee that citizens are able to vote. He said that the Government "has done its homework" by "providing information" about the process and how to build a new state, by ensuring "participation" from civil society, by proving "a will to talk" with Spanish authorities, and by showing "determination" to go ahead with the mandate resulting from the last Catalan elections to organise such a vote. Mas highlighted that the vote will be legal since it will use Catalan legislation. However, he asked citizens for "psychological strength" for the months ahead and future "challenges". Mas also emphasised that Spain's "economic recovery" is mostly "coming from Catalonia", since Catalans are "leading" the statistics regarding job creation, exports, tourism, scientific research and foreign investment.
Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated on Tuesday that the self-determination process is following 3 principles: respect for "the law and dialogue", "but also democracy", which will guarantee that citizens are able to vote. In this vein, he said that the Government "has done its homework" over the past few months by "providing information" to the citizens about the independence process and how to build a new state, by ensuring "participation" from civil society through the National Alliance for Self-determination, by proving "a will to talk" with Spanish authorities, and by showing "determination" to go ahead with the electoral mandate resulting from the last Catalan elections to organise such a vote despite the difficulties. Mas highlighted that, despite the Spanish Government's opposition, the vote will be legal since it will use the Catalan legal framework. However, he asked citizens for "psychological strength" for the months ahead and the future "challenges" that will come. Mas also emphasised that Spain's "economic recovery" is mostly "coming from Catalonia", since Catalans are "leading" the statistics regarding job creation, exports, tourism, scientific research and foreign investment. "The Catalan economy is the one with the largest individual weight within Spain and southern Europe", stressed Mas. The Catalan President made such statements in a press conference analysing the government actions in the past political year, before leaving for his summer holidays. Mas talked about four main issues: the economy, the welfare state services, transparency and self-determination. The opposition parties criticised Mas' "triumphalism" in portraying an economic situation, which is "away from the reality". Furthermore, the parties against self-determination criticised the efforts put into such an initiative, while the parties supporting self-determination asked Mas' for "determination" and for citizen mobilisation.
The Catalan President stated that the Government "is ready; prepared to reach and complete the stage of voting on the 9th of November", the day agreed upon a wide majority of the Catalan Parliament to hold the self-determination vote. In this vein, Mas stated once again that there is only one plan, which is developed through several stages: to grant Catalans the possibility to freely and democratically vote on their own collective future. With this vote, Catalans should be able to decide whether to validate the union with the rest of Spain or not, a union which was imposed on Catalonia during several episodes throughout the past 4 centuries by the use of military force.
Besides, the Catalan President stressed that the Government "has done its homework" by respecting 4 main principles. Firstly, it has guaranteed the provision of "information" to the citizens, through a series of 18 expert reports issued by the Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which is formed by renowned independent experts. The CATN experts have issued reports on specific topics, such as taxation system, pensions, EU membership, the Euro, security, public debt, etc. However, the first report was to identify legal ways to undertake the self-determination process and 5 different ways were described within Spain's legal framework. Nevertheless, as Artur Mas stressed, the Spanish authorities have rejected to comply with Catalonia's demand within the Spanish legislation, by making a restrictive interpretation of the constitution and by lacking the political will to authorise such a vote.
Secondly, Mas stressed that the Catalan Government led a process based on "participation", since the main steps and stages were debated among the wide majority of the Catalan Parliament and the more than 3,000 civil-society entities present in the so-called National Alliance for the Right to Self-determination. In addition, this widespread and bottom-up participation guarantees that the self-determination "is not an obsession" of a few politicians, said Mas, but "the will of a people".
Thirdly, the Catalan President stressed that those supporting self-determination have proved their "will to talk" with the Spanish authorities. In the first place, they waited for the Spanish authorities to react to the clear electoral mandate that resulted from the Catalan Parliament elections held on November 2012. Back then, 80% of the elected MPs promised to support a legal self-determination vote. Since Spanish authorities were ignoring Catalonia's petition to negotiate how to authorise such a vote, a wide majority of Catalan parties reached an agreement on December 2013 about the exact question wording and date for the independence vote. Later on, Catalan parties repeated on several occasions that they are willing to reconsider the question and even the exact date in order to hold a referendum agreed with the Spanish Government. Mas reminded the press about the petition sent to the Spanish Parliament and rejected on the 8th of April to grant the Catalan Government the powers to organise a self-determination referendum.
Finally, the Catalan President stressed that the self-determination process should be continued with "determination" despite the unilateral opposition from the Spanish Government, which repeatedly tries to block the process and asks Mas to totally give up the plans to organise such a vote. In this vein, Mas highlighted that the Catalan Government will use the Catalan legislation, notably the new Law on Consultation Votes, to call such a vote on the 9th of November. "They have not made us comply with the Spanish laws". However, "the first legal base is given by the Catalan Parliament", stated Mas.
The Catalan President complained that "democracy is lacking" in Spain, since the Spanish Government does not allow Catalans to vote and only talks about "the law and dialogue". According to Mas, respecting the law, guaranteeing dialogue and following democracy cannot be separated from "the wide social majority" that support self-determination. According to all the polls published in the last 2 years, between 75% and 80% of Catalans want to hold a self-determination vote. Furthermore, Mas asked to keep "the sufficient political consensus" around this demand from the Catalan society in order to make it possible. For this reason, he asked the Catalan parties that, "considering the high circumstances, "to look in the long-term" as otherwise the self-determination process will be "unbalanced and limping".
He also asked the Catalan citizens for "psychological strength" for the "many challenges" that will have to be faced in the weeks and months ahead, but also to overcome "tests" such as the confession of the former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol, to having committed fiscal fraud. Regarding this issue he said that "nobody knows" how this case will affect the Catalan self-determination process.