CUP general assembly maintain their veto against Artur Mas

The members of pro-independence radical left CUP voted against Artur Mas' candidacy for Catalan President with 823 votes out of 1,300 and urged cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' to make a move. "If there are elections in March it will be because 'Junts Pel Sí' won't have made the move that people are asking for" stated CUP's number two, Anna Gabriel, and reinforced the party's will "to stay at the negotiations table". CUP's position is now reinforced by their base and their strategy is still to launch an action plan against social poverty, break with the Spanish state, start a constitutive process and choose "an alternative to Mas", as pointed out by CUP MP Benet Salellas. Therefore, they rejected the cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' proposal to create a "college presidency" with Mas leading the government together with three "government commissions" with delegated competences.

CUP's leader, Antonio Baños next to CUP's MP, Gabriela Serra at the party's National Debate this Sunday (by ACN)
CUP's leader, Antonio Baños next to CUP's MP, Gabriela Serra at the party's National Debate this Sunday (by ACN) / ACN / Sara Prim

ACN / Sara Prim

November 30, 2015 02:56 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- Pro-independence radical left CUP reinforced their 'no' to instating Artur Mas as Catalan President. After holding its National Debate and putting CUP's strategy to vote amongst their members, 823 of the 1,300 participants rejected Mas' candidacy again and 574 voted for maintaining the negotiations with cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí'. However, they urged them to make a move. "If there are elections it will be because 'Junts Pel Sí' won't have made the move that people are asking for" stated CUP's number two, Anna Gabriel. CUP's National Debate came after 'Junts Pel Sí' proposed to create three "government commissions" led by left-wing ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, current Catalan vice-president Neus Munté and 'Junts Pel Sí' top member former MEP Raül Romeva. This would keep Mas as Catalan President but he would be joined by a "Presidency's Board" with delegated competences.

CUP’s 1,300 members attended the party's National Debate this Sunday and reinforced the party strategy with a clear majority. 823 voted against Mas' candidacy and 574 voted in favour of continuing to negotiate with 'Junts Pel Sí' and finding an alternative candidate. Therefore, CUP's position now has stronger support from its base. "We announce our will to keep on working and proposing" stated Anna Gabriel "it's enough of accusing CUP of imposing and blackmailing".

"'Junts Pel Sí' haven't moved"

The members also agreed to explore all possibilities and insisted that calling new elections in March is not a desired scenario. "If there are elections it will be because 'Junts Pel Sí' won't have made the move that people are asking for" stated CUP's number two, Anna Gabriel. "We have repeatedly moved and offered five different proposals to 'Junts Pel Sí'" stated CUP MP Benet Salellas and accused the cross-party list of having not changed their candidate since the 27-S elections.

CUP's leader, Antonio Baños, went a bit further and assured in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1 that "it will be a failure" to run for elections in March. "We want to have a new government as soon as possible but it has to be as transverse as possible as we need to seduce those people who are not yet for independence" added Baños. 

Agreement on social action plan

CUP emphasised that the 27-S elections had a plebiscitary but constitutive nature too and therefore negotiations have to be carried out on the social field as well. "The what, the how and the when have to be at the height of the circumstances" stated Gabriel and criticised the numerous "red lines" that 'Junts Pel Sí' put on the table regarding the social action plan. Gabrielurged the end of "the privatisation" of key sectors such as natural resources, the health system and the education centres and assured that although they "accept to negotiate" the Catalan government's budget for next year, the party will not "inherit the current anti-social budget". "We want to stop the privatisation, and reverse the cuts and the commitment to the declaration of independence proposal, which is useless [as it’s] being appealed in the Spanish Constitutional Court" he concluded.   

Negotiations are still ongoing

Baños nuanced the National Debate's results and assured that "it is not CUP's last word". "All the options are open because if they weren't, we wouldn't say that the process is still open and ongoing". "We didn't close any door nor consolidate anything definitive" assured Gabriel in an interview with Catalan radio station Catalunya Radio this Monday and reminded that the assembly voted to keep on negotiating. Following this, he insisted that CUP is working hard to make sure that the negotiations with 'Junts Pel Sí' include"launching a social action plan, breaking with the Spanish state, starting a constitutive process and finding an alternative candidate to Mas". 

ERC: Without Mas there is no independence

Pro-independence left-wing ERC candidate for the Spanish elections Gabriel Rufián assured that "without Artur Mas and without what he represents, independence won't be done". "We ask CUP to press the button" he stated "there is no better way to know whether Mas is going to make independence or not than making him President". According to Rufián, CUP and 'Junts Pel Sí' should avoid entering into a "fratricide debate" and emphasised that "the only enemies" are anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, the Catalan People's Party (PPC) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC).

Ciutadans call for new elections

Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans' leader and head of the opposition Inés Arrimadas described the political situation in Catalonia as "a terror series episode". "Catalans don't want to break Spain but reform it" she stated and admitted that although calling for elections is not "best for the country" if they ultimately do take place Ciutadans "will go all out". According to Arrimadas, elections are preferable to "an illegal" agreement between the pro-independence forces. 

PSC: Mas is paralysing the government 

Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) candidate for the Spanish elections Carme Chacón accused Mas of sticking to the "high chair" by waiting for CUP's support while the country "is paralysed". "Catalonia has spent two months without a government and there are many sectors which can't wait any longer" she warned. According to her, to call new elections, "the fifth in three years", would be "the most graphic evidence" of Mas' failure, who "loses support" every time he consults the citizens.