Podem backs voting in independence referendum

Catalan wing of Podemos calls for big turnout on October 1 to protest Spanish government’s ‘obstinacy’ but insists vote is non-binding

Podem spokesperson, Albano Dante Fachín
Podem spokesperson, Albano Dante Fachín / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 8, 2017 07:22 PM

Podem, the Catalan branch of the Spanish left-wing party Podemos (We Can), backs the independence referendum to be held on October 1 and is calling on people to vote as an act of protest against the “obstinacy and authoritarianism” of the Spanish government. Unlike the pro-independence parties, which want an immediate declaration of independence should the ‘yes’ vote win, Podem does not consider the vote to be binding.

“Regrettably, the [Catalan] government’s proposal can hardly be seen as an effective referendum that could be applied,” said Podem spokesperson, Albano Dante Fachín, after the party’s Citizen’s Council adopted an official position on the vote on Thursday. Although Podem is not in favour of Catalonia’s independence, it does supports its right of self-determination. A “huge” turnout would show that the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, cannot continue to turn his back on Catalonia’s pro-independence movement, Fachín said.

However, the Spanish Podemos leadership does not agree with its Catalan counterpart. “If I were a Catalan citizen --which I am not-- I probably would not participate in the October 1 referendum, and I would not vote for one option or the other,” said the Podemos Organization Secretary Pablo Echenique. He said the vote has “no guarantees” and therefore cannot be seen as an exercise of the “right to decide”.