Fourth round of independence consultations
47 Catalan municipalities invited their citizens to take part in the popular referendums. More than 580,000 Catalans have taken part in these non-legally binding acts held for the first time last December
Barcelona (CNA).- For the fourth time in six months, Catalans were able to go to hundreds of electoral colleges which opened its doors to these popular consultations. The Arenys de Munt City Hall pioneered this initiative when it held the first referendum on the 13th of December of last year. This led to further consultations on the 28th of February and the 25th of April. In total, more than 580,000 Catalans have passed through the ballot boxes. The "yes" has won in all the cases with more than 90% of the votes, but a decreasing participation.
Mataro, a coastal city 50 km. North of Barcelona, had a record 23% level of participation, ahead of provincial capitals such as Lleida or Girona, where consultations were held on the 25th of April. These referendums are not legally binding and are organised by civil society. However, Jordi Fàbrega, the mayor of Sant Pere de Torelló and spokesman for the referendum campaign Decidim.cat, one of the most important driving forces behind the consultations, has moved one step ahead. He has announced that he is sending a motion to all the Catalan city councils demanding support for an official referendum. A petition in this sense was presented last month in the Catalan Parliament. On the 8th of June, this Popular Initiative was admitted due to the favourable votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist party (CiU) and 2 of the 3 parties in government: the Left Catalan Indepence Party ERC and the Eco-Socialists of ICV. The ruling Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Conservative and Spanish Nationalist People’s Party (PP) voted against the motion.
Barcelona will be the next city to vote on the motion on the 10th of April 2011. Such a referendum in the Catalan capital will be the movement's biggest challenge to date.