Government continues referendum preparations without disclosing details in face of ‘harassment’ by Spain

Vice president and foreign affairs minister formally request transfer of powers to their departments for purchase of ballot boxes for October 1 vote

Jordi Turull during the press conference on Tuesday (by ACN)
Jordi Turull during the press conference on Tuesday (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 18, 2017 07:19 PM

The Catalan government’s Council of Ministers met on Tuesday, along with the three new pro-independence ministers sworn in on Friday. During the cabinet meeting, Vice President Oriol Junqueras and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Raül Romeva formally requested the powers to purchase ballot boxes for the referendum, after agreeing to take charge of the issue last week with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

In the meeting, the ministers and the president also agreed that the responsibilities for the preparation of the unilateral vote on October 1 would be shared by all members of the government. Also on Tuesday, the new presidency minister, Jordi Turull, made his first appearance as government spokesman, telling the press that different possibilities for purchasing the ballot boxes was discussed, but that there will be no further information on the purchase or on the preparations for the vote until the matter is settled.

The reason he gave is to avoid the “harassment of the Spanish State” that Catalan politicians are facing. Turull used the example of the inspection by Spanish Civil Guard officers (Guardia Civil) looking for paperwork on the pro-referendum event held at the National Theater of Catalonia. Yet, Turull promised that the information will be managed as well as possible to ensure a successful outcome on October 1. “In this context of harassment we decided to manage the information carefully by ourselves to successfully guarantee the October 1 vote,” he said.

In the next few days, the organizing council for the referendum will meet for the first time. The only members on the council will be president Puigdemont, vice president Junqueras, the Government Secretary and the Secretary of the Vice Presidency. Other ministers may join some of the meetings as and when they are required. Turull also said that there was fluid communication with the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP group, which has called for the purchase of the ballot boxes to go ahead without delay. The government spokesman insisted that CUP could receive any information on the preparations at any time, and he stressed the good cooperation between the government and CUP on the matter of the referendum.