Full fiscal autonomy for Catalonia in exchange for a “permanent and stable ally”
Catalan President Artur Mas will give full support to the next Spanish government if it accepts a new fiscal arrangement for Catalonia. Mas says his party, the centre-right nationalist Convergència i Unió, is the only political force able to become a counter-power to the Spanish conservatives, the most likely winners of the next general election
Barcelona (ACN).- The Convergència i Unió (CiU) leader and Catalan President, Artur Mas, has offered a \u201Cpermanent and stable ally\u201D to the next Spanish government in exchange for full fiscal autonomy for Catalonia. In a TV interview, Mas said that a new fiscal arrangement for Catalonia would be the cornerstone of any negotiations with future Spanish governments. The Spanish general election may be held either next autumn or in March 2012, depending on whether the current Socialist government, lead by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, decides to move the date forward or not.
\u201CTo have a stable pact, to work together during the political term, to be kind of a happy couple, we should have a fiscal agreement\u201D, Mas said. The Catalan leader warned the next Spanish president that he would have to offer the Catalans full fiscal autonomy if he expects the firm support of the CiU. However, Mas rejected that his offer necessarily implies the formation of a coalition government with the next winner of the elections. The general election, that could be either be moved forward to the autumn or scheduled for March 2012, will be a contest between conservative Mariano Rajoy, from the People\u2019s Party (PP), and socialist Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba (PSOE). Polls predict a victory from Rajoy, although he may need the support of the Catalan nationalists to govern. Mas said that his party is \u201Cthe only one\u201D from Catalonia that can \u201Cprevent\u201D an overall majority from the Spanish conservatives of the PP. The Catalan president warned that Catalonia will only have influence in the next Spanish government if the CiU obtains \u201Cdecisive support\u201D in the election. Mas said his party will work for \u201Cthe interests of Catalonia\u201D accusing the Catalan socialists MPs from the PSC of not opposing the Spanish socialists party when it comes to \u201Cdefending Catalonia\u201D.