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"Nobody can guarantee we will be able to vote on November 9", states pro-independence civil society organisation

Carme Forcadell, President of the civil society organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC), stated that if citizens are able to cast their vote on November 9, the participatory process will already be "a success". However, she warned that "nobody can guarantee we will be able to vote on November 9 because the Spanish State will use all the resources against the freedom of expression" of the Catalan people. In fact, she pointed out that there have already been "threats" sent by the Spanish Government to members of the Catalan Executive, volunteers and high-school directors. "It's very important that the world knows our situation", she highlighted. Nevertheless, she hoped that Catalans will be finally able to vote on Sunday. "The 9th of November is very important [as] it is one step forward towards independence", she emphasised. However, a clear democratic mandate will come from early Catalan Parliament elections.

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08 November 2014 08:09 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Carme Forcadell, President of the civil society organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC), stated that if citizens are able to cast their vote on November 9, the participatory process will already be "a success". However, she warned that "nobody can guarantee we will be able to vote on November 9 because the Spanish State will use all the resources against the freedom of expression" of the Catalan people. In fact, the ANC President pointed out that there have already been "threats" sent by the Spanish Government to members of the Catalan Executive, volunteers and high-school directors. "It's very important that the world knows our situation", highlighted the President of the grass-roots association that co-organised the massive pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Despite the doubts about the Spanish Government's actions, she hoped that Catalans will be finally able to vote on Sunday. "The 9th of November is very important for the Catalan people [as] it is one step forward towards independence", she emphasised. However, a clear democratic mandate is needed that will not come from this participatory process but from early Catalan Parliament elections. "This consultation [November 9's vote] is not a real consultation. We need elections to get a democratic mandate to allow us to get independence", she underlined. Forcadell explained that Catalans "vote because we think the future is in our hands and because we are sovereign. And we want to exercise our sovereignty", she stressed. In addition she wondered why "the Scottish people voted and the Catalan people, no. Which is the difference?"


A few hours before November 9, the ANC President said that "it is impossible to 100% guarantee" that Catalan will be able to vote on Sunday. However she wanted "to highlight that the Catalan Government, the civil society and the town halls have done everything possible and even more to allow citizens to express themselves" on November 9 about Catalonia's independence from Spain. "If there is a place where people cannot vote, it will not be because we have not done enough but because the Spanish State will have impeded it", Forcadell pointed out.

Regardless of whether there will be ballot boxes or not at the end, "it is very important that on the 9th of November we go to our polling stations and queue with our ballot in our hands for the world to see our will", she stated. However, she believes that Catalans will be able to vote and doing so will already be "a success". "The success" will not be measured by the number of participants but whether everybody has the opportunity to vote and that all the polling stations can open" their doors, she told the CNA. "It is a titanic challenge", she acknowledged.

November 9 cannot be compared to a regular electoral process

This is why she does not think that the final turnout can be compared to the turnout of regular elections, neither to the massive pro-independence demonstrations that took place in September 2012, 2013 and 2014. At the time "we did not have a State against us. It did not file appeals and send threats" she reminded. Therefore "it would be unfair to compare" the processes.

In fact, if Catalans can finally vote on November 9, she acknowledged that conditions "will not be normal". "Firstly, the Spanish State will make everything possible" to stop it, "until the very last minute", she said. Secondly, "because the polling stations are not going to be the regular ones, there is no pre-made census and letters have not been sent to people explaining them" the voting instructions". She explained that in the town of Granollers (in Greater Barcelona), for instance, there will only be 3 polling stations when normally there are 30 of them.

In addition, she confirmed that the ANC will not put any ballot boxes on the street to allow citizens to vote if a judicial order arrives and impedes opening the doors of the polling stations. "Ballot boxes are a very serious thing. They have to be watched" and they require "a legal framework and logistics", she added. "We cannot put them [ballot boxes] on the street because the moment you are doing this you are distorting the sense of the vote and twisting democracy", she emphasised. However, according to her, this last option would be the only consultation vote accepted by the Spanish State, where the Catalan Government had nothing to do with it and all accountability measures are totally absent.

"Fear" is one of the Spanish State's weapons

Finally, she ruled out the possibility of police taking away the ballot boxes. However, if it finally happened, she totally rules out any violent episode. "We will all stay calm and we will not allow ourselves to be provoked", Forcadell stated. In addition, she asked citizens not be afraid about participating on November 9's process, since "fear" is one of the Spanish State's weapons used during the last few weeks, she highlighted. "In the 21st century citizens cannot be threatened or scared. We are in a democracy and in the European Union", she stressed. "We cannot allow them to cut off our freedom of expression and to threaten us", Forcadell concluded.

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  • Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, interviewed by the CNA (by A. Moldes)

  • Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, interviewed by the CNA (by A. Moldes)

  • Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, interviewed by the CNA (by A. Moldes)
  • Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, interviewed by the CNA (by A. Moldes)
Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, talks about November 9's vote (by ACN)