Mas to the Spanish Government: “Let us vote”
The Catalan President, Artur Mas, urged Spain “to listen to the voice of the Catalan people” by allowing the referendum on independence to take place in 2014. In his New Year’s Eve Speech, Mas said that “there is nothing as democratic” as deciding the future of the country “in the ballot box”. “Solving the big issues in the polls should not cause any qualms nor fears, and it is obvious that our future and the relationship that we should have with Spain and Europe is a tremendously big issue”, he said in a speech broadcasted by Catalan Television on Monday.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan President, Artur Mas, urged the Spanish Government led by Mariano Rajoy to allow the referendum on independence in Catalonia to take place in 2014. “I want to use this New Year’s Eve Speech to ask the Spanish State to let us vote. To listen to the voice of the Catalan people”, Mas said in his statement, broadcasted by Catalan TV. The Catalan President stated that Spain should not see Catalonia “as an adversary and especially not as an enemy”. “We have been, we want to be and we could be in the future an ally, a good ally”, said Mas.
According to the President, Catalans “have won the right to decide” about their own future. “Every nation has the implicit right to decide its future. But to those that deny even this obvious truth, I will say that Catalonia has won the right to decide”. “Catalans, from today and from the past, have won their right to decide their future because they have been able to keep their identity, their culture, their language and their rights, usually despite the existence of unfair laws and norms”, argued Mas.
Six Catalan parties from all political spectrum have agreed to hold a referendum on November 9th, 2014. The Catalan Parliament will formally ask the Spanish Parliament to transfer the powers to organise the vote. Mas said that the agreement to hold the vote was “widely supported” by Catalan parties but admitted that there is no “unanimity”.
“There are political forces that do not agree with this, and especially people, compatriots, that see it with concern, fear and even opposition”, he said, adding: “These are legitimate and respectable opinions, so are the ones that see this process as the best way to build a country worth living in”.
“Every position should be able to be defended with respect and good harmony. For all things depending on me, it will be as such. And beyond everyone’s personal opinion, it is by voting in the ballot box that the proportions of majorities and minorities in the country will be defined”, he argued.
2014: a year of great hope and opportunities
In his speech, Mas highlighted that 2014 will be a year “full of symbolism” and of great “hope and opportunities”. The Catalan President said that 300 years ago Catalonia “lost its rights, constitutions, institutions and freedom” but it is now aiming at “winning the big democratic battle of deciding freely its future as a country, as a nation and as a society”.
“We are asking, therefore, to be allowed to vote”, highlighted Mas, adding that “there is nothing more democratic” than a referendum. According to the President, Catalonia “is a country with a long and deep sense of democracy” and therefore it should be able to vote. Mas asked the Spanish President Mariano Rajoy to “listen to the voice of the Catalan people” and to avoid “building walls to silence it”. “Let those who feel the need to decide, choose for themselves”, he urged.
Mas also discussed the economical situation in his speech. “The year that is now coming to an end is the sixth of an economical recession that has caused great pain. However, for the first time, we can start the recovery”, he said. Mas admitted, however, that such a recovery “will take time”. In that sense, the Catalan President argued that those who want Catalonia to become a State are doing so to have a “tool to serve the society and the country, namely, the people”.