President backs independence vote in Catalonia as preferred Quebec-style Clarity Act option

Aragonès says referendum solution is "possible and legal" and "usual" in territorial conflicts

Catalan president Pere Aragonès looks at the report of the government's advisory panel on the independence question
Catalan president Pere Aragonès looks at the report of the government's advisory panel on the independence question / Bernat Vilaró
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 16, 2023 01:39 PM

October 16, 2023 06:38 PM

The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, said he backs an independence referendum among Catalans as the best option for the Clarity Act that he plans to bring to the Spanish government.  

After meeting on Monday morning with the Catalan government’s advisory panel on the independence debate, who delivered a report with various options outlined, the head of the executive gave a press conference on Monday afternoon in which he backed an “agreed” vote among citizens of Catalonia.  

The advisory panel’s report outlined five different possibilities of an agreed referendum and two other mechanisms out of the conflict without a vote. Some of the options included a vote across all of Spain, but Aragonès opted on Monday for a referendum in Catalonia alone.

Aragonès wants to push ahead with a "Scotland-style referendum," as he put it., adding he is committed to "starting the path to implementing the result" of the referendum.

After the investiture of Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez, the Catalan President will hold a meeting with political parties to share his proposal and listen to their strategies.

Nonetheless, Aragonès reiterated that he will back his idea of a binding referendum agreed with Spain. 


"A referendum in Catalonia in which the citizens of Catalonia vote on independence is possible, viable, and legal," the president said. 

Advisory panel recommends international mediation  

The government's advisory panel on the independence debate came up with a document outlining five kinds of referendum options – all of which would be in agreement with Spain – and two other alternatives in order to find a way out of the long-lasting demands to tackle the territorial issue that ended in a constitutional crisis six years ago. 

On Monday morning, the president of the group of experts, Marc Sanjaume, gave a press conference to explain details of the report that the Academic Council delivered to the Catalan President on Monday morning. 

The text establishes the pros and cons of each option, and at the same time investigates the role that the Constitutional Court should play in the matter. He warns that jurisprudence against self-determination referendums has been formed from the unilateral Basque and Catalan proposals, and an agreement between governments would thus establish a new scenario. 

The group of political science experts recommends using an international mediator. Institutions could act as "conflict mediators," the report outlines, and this role could also be given to "specific individuals" due to their prestige and impartiality. 

Mediation for the resolution of conflicts is "increasingly present," the group points out, adding that territorial conflicts "should not be excluded from this increasing trend." However, the figure of a mediator is not "indispensable," Sanjaume responded when asked in the press conference. "The only thing that is indispensable is the agreement," he said. 

Sanjaume also said that an independence referendum could "lose political force" if one of the sides sees it as a "partisan tool."  

The political scientist warned that Spain could "block" the resolution of the conflict in the event that a "final" referendum throughout the Spanish territory rejects the majority option in an "initial" consultation in Catalonia. Sanjaume said that the TC must have a "fundamental role of referee" and not of "obstructor". 

The experts say that a clarity agreement must be "inclusive" of the parties involved, but they warn that the multiplicity of actors - especially at the beginning - can make this difficult.  

The advisory panel also support an agreed referendum with Spain. Sanjaume pointed out that there are cases where "non-agreed ways" have been applied, but a pact is the resolution that "works succesffully" the most, since all the parties involved can defend their positions.