"If the majority is there, the Catalan Parliament will solemnly declare the start of the independence process", states Romeva
The pro-independence unitary list for the next Catalan elections and the road map towards independence were officially presented on Monday evening at Catalonia's National History Museum. Liberals, Social-Democrats, Greens, Christian-Democrats, Socialists and civil society organisations are running together and transforming the 27 September elections into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. "What we are doing here is very strange but we are going through a very strange moment, extraordinary", stated former Member of the European Parliament, Raül Romeva, who is topping the unitary list. "We have tried everything" to hold a self-determination vote, but using the parliamentary elections is the only option left "to exercise our right to vote", stressed Romeva. The former Eco-Socialist MEP disclosed the main steps of the road map towards independence and also highlighted the main government priorities, particularly focusing on the people most in need. "This is the reason" why "we are doing this" and uniting under the name 'Together for the Yes'.
Barcelona (ACN).- The pro-independence unitary list for the next Catalan Parliament elections and the road map towards independence were officially presented on Monday evening at Catalonia's National History Museum in Barcelona. Liberals, Social-Democrats, Greens, Christian-Democrats, Socialists and civil society organisations are uniting to run together and transform the 27 September elections into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence from Spain. "What we are doing here is very strange but we are going through a very strange moment, extraordinary", stated former Member of the European Parliament, Raül Romeva, who is topping the unitary list. "We have tried everything" to hold a self-determination vote, but using the parliamentary elections is the only option left "to exercise our right to vote", stressed Romeva.
The former Eco-Socialist MEP disclosed the main steps of the road map towards independence and also highlighted the main government priorities, particularly focusing on the people most in need. Indeed, he listed a series of social priorities that the new government would urgently implement to put those in need "at the forefront, as otherwise all this would not make any sense". "This is the reason" why "we are doing this", "to have a better country, fairer, with greater cohesion, more solidarity, more open, with more participation, and with the will of building a better environment, at European level, at the level of the [Iberian] Peninsula, and the world", Romeva said.
For all these reasons, they are uniting under the name 'Junts pel Sí' ('Together for the Yes'). If the Spanish institutions continue trying to block the process, they will carry on anyway and declare independence, ensured Romeva. He recounted that facing a democratic demand shared by a majority of Catalans, the Spanish institutions have only said "no" and have answered by launching "penal processes against three individuals", including the current Catalan President, when more than 2.3 million people participated in the symbolic vote on independence.
Romeva stressed that the next 27 September elections will become a 'de facto' referendum on independence from Spain. "This is for real", "we are ready to do it", "being aware of the risks but also very aware of the enormous opportunities". Their plan is to declare independence less than 18 months after the 27 September elections, should the parliamentary majority be there. In addition, he also stressed that "the door is open" to everybody who wants to join, as the resulting country will be for everybody. In order to lead by example, he also said a few words in Aranese – a dialect of Occitan – which is co-official in a valley of the Catalan Pyrenees.
The road map towards independence
"If the majority is there, the Catalan Parliament will solemnly declare the start of the independence process", emphasised Romeva. "Things have to be done correctly but also quickly", as has been recommended by many experts in order to reduce uncertainty. In this scenario, the newly elected Catalan Government and Parliament will have a maximum of 18 months to develop the necessary state structures "to disconnect from Spain", legally speaking, and approve the "Law of Legal Transition".
However, "we will not forget about the most basic social needs", which require "an urgent" solution, emphasised Romeva. Indeed, the Government will also develop a series of urgent actions regarding housing, poverty reduction, kindergartens, pensions – which would be guaranteed, insisted the former MEP, jobs, innovation, youth unemployment, public healthcare, Catalan schooling, social integration, social rights, and culture, which should become "the 4th leg of the Welfare State".
Furthermore, a constituent process will also start, "from bottom to top" through "citizen participation", and once all this is ready, "we will proclaim independence" and "legally disconnect from Spain" stated Romeva.
"We know they will make things hard for us", stated Romeva referring to the Spanish institutions. "But even if the [Spanish] State tries to block all this", the plan will still go ahead, stressed Romeva, "and we will proclaim independence anyway".
“In the end, constituent elections will take place and, within this framework, may the best one win", he concluded, referring to a new electoral call with regular parties competing, without the need for unitary lists.
Junqueras, Mas, Casals and Forcadell also spoke
Romeva spoke last as the first 5 leaders of the unitary list addressed in reverse order those assembled. The President of the Social-Democrat party ERC, Oriol Junqueras, was the first to address the audience, stressing the civic nature of the candidature "for a better country". Furthermore, Junqueras also stressed the "exceptional" nature of the agreement reached, which is justified by the "exceptional moment we are going through".
Then, the current President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Liberal party CDC Artur Mas said that "we want to do things right", which means "putting the ballot boxes on the street when needed to allow people to decide" and "following a road map", which "answers to thorough studies". "We are ready to do it and do it right", emphasised Mas. "We will have a shared programme and a shared government", to work "for a future for all the people forming Catalonia, all 7.5 million people", he concluded.
After the two politicians, spoke the civil society activists Muriel Casals and Carme Forcadell, who are running in 3rd and 2nd spot respectively. Casals, who is President of the Òmnium Cultural association, recalled that the Catalan people are "coming from a resistant past", when the Catalan language was persecuted and when Catalan forces "were trying to transform Spain". "However, democracy has shown us that it is not possible" to transform Spain, she said. "We are not worse or better than the others, but we are different" and with independence "we want to bring our diversity to Europe", as we "are responsible for a part of Europe's diversity", she went on to say. "In July 2010, we changed our mindset" and "went from being resisting and protesting people to people who propose" things.
Carme Forcadell, who used to be President of the grassroots organisation the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), continued Casals' reasoning. She stated that the massive demonstration organised in July 2010 "was the last one organised as a response to the aggressions of the [Spanish] State", when 1.5 million citizens protested in Barcelona against the trimming of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy by the Constitutional Court less than two weeks before, after the text had been approved by the Catalan people through a legally binding referendum in 2006.
"From that moment onwards, the demonstrations were to propose things", she said recounting the three mass demonstrations that were organised on Catalonia's National Day, on 11 September, in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She also welcomed people to participate in this year's rally, which is to occupy the entire Meridiana Avenue in Barcelona. Forcadell also highlighted the importance of the symbolic vote on 9 November, "when more than 2.3 million Catalans challenged the Spanish State, disobeyed the Spanish State" and held a symbolic vote on independence. Now, the climax is coming: the 27 September elections, she concluded.