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Parties supporting the self-determination vote explain the agreement reached

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), led by Mas and running the Catalan Government, emphasised that “today we are writing history”. In addition, the Christian-Democrat force within the two-party coalition CiU, UDC, highlighted that having an “inclusive and clear” question was possible. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) recognised it was not their preferred question but it is now theirs it directly asks about independence. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) pointed out that the question also suits those defending a Catalan State within a federal Spain. The radical left-wing and independence party CUP accepts the question in order to have the widest possible pact. The parties appeared together before the press to present the pact and answer questions, joined by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who announced the question and date.

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12 December 2013 07:46 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The parties that have reached the agreement on the specific question and date on Catalonia’s self-determination vote appeared together before the press on Thursday to announce the pact and answer questions. They were joined by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who announced the question and date. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), led by Mas and currently running the Catalan Government, emphasised that “today we are writing history”. In addition, the Christian-Democrat force within the two-party coalition CiU, UDC, highlighted that having an “inclusive and clear” question was possible. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) recognised it is not their preferred question but it is now theirs since it directly asks about independence. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) pointed out that the question also suits those defending a Catalan State within a federal Spain. The radical left-wing and independence party CUP accepts the question in order to have the widest possible pact.


“Do you want Catalonia to become a state? If yes, do you want this state to be independent?” This is the “inclusive” and “clear” question that the parties supporting Catalonia’s self-determination vote have agreed on this Thursday. The parties also found common ground on a date for the referendum: November 9, 2014. The Catalan President briefly explained the agreement and afterwards he gave the floor to the members of the four parliamentary groups that have backed the pact reached at the Generalitat Palace.

The Christian-Democrats are satisfied with an “inclusive and clear” question

The Christian-Democratic side of the CiU is satisfied with an “inclusive and clear” question. The governing coalition CiU is formed of two parties, the Liberal CDC and the Christian-Democrats UDC. The latter is the smaller party within the coalition (representing around 25% of the electoral base) and it is opposed to Catalonia’s independence but supports its self-determination right and the organisation of such a vote. Most of the CDC supports independence while all of it is in favour of the organisation of a self-determination vote. In the last weeks, UDC has been insistent on having an “inclusive” question, in order not to only vote on independence but also on the possibility of granting Catalonia greater self-governing powers while remaining within a confederate Spain, which would protect Catalonia’s culture and language, as well as offer a fairer fiscal scheme.

The President of UDC’s National Council, Ramon Espadaler, stated they are satisfied that the agreement shows “that inclusiveness and clarity are not antagonist concepts”. Espadaler was happy that independence supporters but also those wanting to change the status quo while still remaining within Spain can all be included in the question. He also highlighted that “the agreement follows a Catalan Parliament’s mandate”, which was to have an agreement on a specific question and date before the 31st of December. He then praised the parties participating in the agreement since “they have put what unites them at the forefront”. The CiU Spokesperson at the Catalan Parliament and representative of CDC, Jordi Turull, said they were “satisfied and moved”. “Today we are writing history” he said. He pointed out that many generations of Catalans “would have paid anything to live a moment such as this one”. “We are making an important step for the future generations to have a more prosperous country, with greater freedom and welfare”, he concluded.

The ERC says the question suits them because it directly asks about independence

The President of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, stated that this is not the question they would have preferred but that it suits them since it directly asks about independence. “It is our question now”, he stated. “ERC wanted to guarantee that citizens could vote on independence, since we believe it is a claim shared by many within the Catalan society”, he said. Junqueras emphasised that the question is “backed by a wide consensus” and they are satisfied that it suits “a wide majority of the Catalan Parliament”. He highlighted that a “strong majority” was needed for this agreement. Junqueras also insisted that all the parties’ stances are legitimate and that a compromise was needed. In addition, he stated that ERC will accept the results of the vote and he asked all the other parties to engage on the same principle. Regarding the date (November 9), they stated they wanted the vote “to be held earlier”, but they accepted “the technical arguments presented by the Catalan Government”. Finally, when he was asked about whether they would now sit in the Catalan Executive, he said he does not rule out the possibility but that the Catalan President “should ask them” for this and they “should agree on what we could bring”.

The ICV-EUiA underlines that the question will allow adding those backing independence and a federal Spain

The President of the ICV-EUiA group at the Catalan Parliament, Joan Herrera, highlighted that the question was “inclusive”. Although the ideology of both forces is completely different, the ICV-EUiA finds itself in a similar stance than the Christian-Democrats, since many of its members do not want independence but a Catalan state within a federal Spain. However, a great part of ICV-EUiA voters would also support independence. Hence the party has been negotiating to have a question going beyond “Do you want an independent Catalonia, yes or no?” In this vein, Herrera underlined that the final question, split into two parts, allows “adding those supporting independence and federalism [a federal Spain]”. “It is obvious that everybody has given in, but we have a question that suits all the Catalans that do not want to continue as things are now”, he stated. Herrera pointed out that the first part of the question is likely to gather “a huge yes” for “breaking the current Constitutional status quo”. The Spain “of the Autonomous Communities is over”, he concluded.

The CUP “accepts” the question as “the widest possible pact” but will take it to the civil society

The radical left-wing and independence party CUP stated they “accept” the question as “the widest possible pact with the majority parties”. However, the CUP MP, Quim Arrufat, stated that they will take the question to their bases and they will also validate it with the civil society. They justified this action by stating it is the civil society who has pushed the politicians to arrive to such an agreement in the first place. Arrufat explained that the question does not meet all the conditions they put on the table, but that “at least” has the word “independence”. Furthermore, he said that this question is “the greatest political conflict” that the Spanish State “has got on its table” for decades. For this reason, he warned that the Spanish Government would fight against this vote. However, he added, that they have accepted this question in order to have “an official and negotiated referendum”, as otherwise they would not have accepted it.

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  • Joan Herrera (left) next to Joan Mena, MP from the EUiA (right) (by G. Sánchez)

  • Quim Arrufat (left) and David Fernández (right) from the CUP (by G. Sánchez)

  • Espadaler (left) and Turull (right) from the CiU (by G. Sánchez)

  • Oriol Junqueras, President of the ERC (by A. Moldes)

  • Joan Herrera (left) next to Joan Mena, MP from the EUiA (right) (by G. Sánchez)
  • Quim Arrufat (left) and David Fernández (right) from the CUP (by G. Sánchez)
  • Espadaler (left) and Turull (right) from the CiU (by G. Sánchez)
  • Oriol Junqueras, President of the ERC (by A. Moldes)