Left-wing pro-independence ERC partially accepts Catalan President’s proposal for early elections
The left-wing pro-independence party ERC has accepted the last proposal put forward by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to run separately in early elections but with a large part of civil society representatives and independents being included in the President’s candidacy. However, the ERC has not ruled out the possibility of also including civil society representatives in its own list and wants elections in March. Any such elections should become a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. The Catalan President accused the ERC of “twisting” his proposal. Furthermore, sources of the Catalan Government criticised the ERC’s “intransigency” because “they have not moved from their initial stance” of running separately in elections taking place this winter. Mas initially wanted to run together but was not particularly in a hurry to call the elections.
Barcelona (ACN).-On Friday evening, the left-wing pro-independence party ERC accepted the last proposal put forward by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to run separately in early elections but with a large part of civil society representatives and independents being included in the President’s candidacy. However, the ERC has not ruled out the possibility of also including independents and civil society representatives in its own list and wants elections to take place in March. On Friday afternoon, Mas, who is also the leader of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, sent a letter to the ERC proposing 3 electoral formulas. The left-wing opposition party partially accepted the third one in order “to unblock” the current situation, stated Marta Rovira, the Secretary General of the ERC. These early elections should become a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. They come after the Spanish Government’s unilateral blocking attitude for the last 2 years, rejecting any negotiation about the self-determination demands shared by a wide majority of the Catalan society (between 75% and 80% according to the polls and the last electoral results). However, the issue is far from being resolved and Mas has criticised the ERC’s answer and called for another meeting next week.
The Catalan President accuses the ERC of “twisting” his proposal
On Friday evening, the ERC answered the Catalan President’s letter sent earlier in the day and an hour later the Catalan President replied. Mas accused the ERC of “twisting” the proposal made by the civil society, since the left-wing party does not rule out forming a cross-party list itself and wants elections to take place in March. Two weeks ago, the Association of pro-Independence Municipalities (AMI) proposed forming a cross-party candidacy around the Catalan President, while the ERC would still run separately but without representatives from the main civil society organisations. Mas included this proposal as the third in the letter sent to the ERC on Friday. However, Mas’ proposal did not include elections in March if this was to be the chosen formula. The Catalan President urged the ERC’s leader, Oriol Junqueras, to meet with him and representatives from civil society next week in order to discuss the situation.
Furthermore, sources from the Catalan Government criticised the ERC’s “intransigency” because “they have not moved from their initial stance” of running separately in elections taking place this winter. Mas initially wanted to run together and was not particularly in a hurry to call the elections. However, Junqueras insisted on running separately and calling elections immediately.
The ERC wants elections in March
Marta Rovira emphasised that now, after they have accepted his cross-party list, the Catalan President can call early elections, which should take place “in March”, she said. The ERC’s ‘number 2’ stated that they “assume and accept the fact that Mas will build a cross-party candidature, the best list, with all the members of the civil society who want to join him”. However, at the same time, the ERC does not rule out the possibility of including independents and representatives from civil society in its own list.
The ERC states that now they have to negotiate the road map for the next months
According to Rovira, negotiations should now be focused on reaching an agreement about the road map for the coming months. In case the pro-independence candidates won the elections and got an absolute majority, Mas would prefer to negotiate independence with the Spanish authorities and declare it 18 months after the elections. In these one and a half years, EU membership and the basic state structures (such as a Social Security scheme and a fully functional Tax Agency) should be negotiated and built. Immediately after, once Catalonia is independent, he would call constituent elections and would organise a referendum to ratify the whole process.
However, the ERC sees things differently. The ERC would declare independence in the first official plenary of the new Catalan Parliament if the lists supporting this option were to win the next elections. The new Catalan Parliament would also be in charge of drafting a new Constitution and building the basic state structures. Therefore, for the ERC, the next elections are already constituent elections. On top of this, the ERC would call a referendum but only to ratify the Constitution and not to ratify the independence process, which should already be ratified by the ballots cast in the early elections.