Catalonia cross-party National Alliance bids for agreed referendum in 2017 with international recognition
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, called all members of the National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination to a summit this Friday in order to find political and social consensus around the organisation of the referendum on independence to be held next September 2017. To achieve this, the National Alliance for the Referendum has been created, presided over by former Catalan Socialist, Joan Ignasi Lena. Representatives from all those political parties which support Catalonia’s right to decide, together with more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organisations committed to launch a campaign to promote an agreed referendum with the Spanish State, specially oriented toward the international audience. Puigdemont called the meeting after finding that the Spanish Government’s repeated calls for dialogue have not resulted in any material actions. On the contrary, all the steps towards launching the pro-independence roadmap have been suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Barcelona (CNA).- The National Alliance for the Right to Self-Determination, which brings together those political parties which support Catalonia’s right to decide, together with more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organisations met this Friday to set out the course of the referendum. Although the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspended the Parliament’s resolution which established that a referendum is to be called in Catalonia in September next year, the Catalan executive has insisted that the schedule remains unchanged. The 86 representatives which attended the summit, committed to launch a campaign to promote an agreed referendum with the Spanish State, specially oriented toward the international audience.
“Today’s summit represents a leap forward”, stated Puigdemont right after the meeting. According to the Catalan President, the summit aimed to “enhance” support for the referendum “beyond political parties” and he insisted that the need to hold a vote to decide Catalonia’s future relationship with Spain “is coming together and forms an immense majority”. “This is a new space, cross-party and plural but with a clear common goal, which is the will to call a referendum”, stated Puigdemont, emphasising that this “democratic demand gathers together not only those who support Catalonia’s independence but also those who are against it and those who simply don’t know yet”.
“We need to launch a campaign in order to add more supporters to our cause” continued Puigdemont and emphasised that “there are many people in Catalonia, but also in Spain, who agree that Catalans should be allowed to vote”. “We know we have the political support, we know what polls do and we can prove it to the Spanish executive”, he added.
In a similar vein, Barcelona’s Mayor, Ada Colau, celebrated the decision to coincide in the referendum scenario, “since it is the option which has the widest support”. “We have repeatedly expressed our support to give a voice to the citizens and be at the Catalan institutions’ side and we will never put their legitimacy in doubt”, she added.
National Alliance for the Referendum
Puigdemont nuanced that the summit was called to discuss the referendum and not independence and insisted on the need for this vote to be agreed with the Spanish state at the first stage and for it to have all the necessary guarantees in order to be internationally recognised.
In order to find political and social consensus around the organisation of the referendum the summit has created the National Alliance for the Referendum, which will be presided over by former Catalan Socialist, Joan Ignasi Lena.
All parties that support Catalonia’s right to decide
86 representatives from Catalonia’s political, social and economic life took part in this Friday’s summit to set out the course for the referendum, to be held in September 2017.
Catalonia's National Alliance for Self-Determination brings together more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organisations, besides those political parties which support Catalonia’s right to decide. In this regard, this Friday’s meeting included the presence of representatives of governing cross-party ‘Junts Pel Sí’, radical left CUP, left wing pro-independence ERC, the Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT (former liberal CDC), ‘Demòcrates de Catalunya’, which has splintered from Christian Democrat ‘Unió’, one of the CDC’s main partners in previous Catalan Governments, left party ‘MES’, launched by Catalan ERC MEP Ernest Maragall, alternative left alliance ‘Catalunya Sí Que es Pot’, the Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, Green party ICV, post-communist EUiA and ‘Podem’, the Catalan branch of Spanish alternative left party ‘Podemos’, led by Pablo Iglesias.
Besides the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva and the members of the Catalan Government, other top politicians such as Barcelona’s Mayor, Ada Colau, also attended the summit, together with former Catalan President, Artur Mas.
With its wide political representation, one of the main characteristic elements of the Catalonia's National Alliance for Self-Determination is its cross-party nature. The main pro-independence associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), which were responsible for the last massive pro-independence mobilisations on Catalonia’s National Day, also attended the meeting. Other associations which were present included “Súmate’, an organisation mostly formed of people of Spanish origin living in Catalonia who support independence from Spain, the NGO ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’, which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, and organisations, such as retirement homes, psychiatric hospitals, children-in-need centres, and social dining rooms groupedin the ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’. The main trade unions, the Workers Commissions trade union (CCOO) and the General Workers Union (UGT) also attended the meeting, together with employers’ association ‘Foment del Treball’.