President launches Quebec-style Clarity Act committee, calls meeting with parties in June

Aragonès commissions first report from group to study independence referendum negotiated with Spain

Catalan president Pere Aragonès during a press conference on April 11, 2023
Catalan president Pere Aragonès during a press conference on April 11, 2023 / Bernat Vilaró
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 11, 2023 01:02 PM

April 11, 2023 08:04 PM

Catalan president Pere Aragonès launched a Quebec-style Clarity Act committee, as was announced on Tuesday during a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Aragonès, who first proposed the measure as a means of negotiating an independence referendum with Spain late last September, has already commissioned a first report from the group and called a meeting with all parties in June, following the local elections in May, to discuss its findings. 

The committee headed by Pompeu Fabra University professor Marc Sanjaume, who Catalan News last interviewed in 2021, will also be made up of other political scientists and legal experts from Catalan universities. 

The Esquerra Republicana pro-independence minority cabinet wants other parties to share their proposals and objections before the committee opens the debate to civil society groups.

Catalan authorities aim to include associations, entities, unions, companies, platforms, and other organizations, including those in the worlds of culture and sports, in the debate.

By the fall, citizens will be encouraged to participate in discussions. These people will be selected at random from all over Catalonia to take part in a focus group. All in all, the cabinet expects there to be eight debates.

The committee is set to produce a final report by early 2024 that the Catalan government hopes will allow it to reach an agreement with Madrid on holding a vote.

Once a final report is produced, which Aragonès hopes will legitimize and strengthen his quest for independence, the Catalan government will approve a Quebec-style Clarity Act. This will be brought to the so-called 'dialogue table' discussions with the Spanish government on the issue of Catalan independence. 


The Catalan cabinet has not closed the door on the possibility of debating the Clarity Act bill in Parliament before it is approved if this is recommended by those who participate in the committee-led process.

Opposition remains unconvinced 

Opposition parties reacted to the news swiftly, with a wide range of parties questioning Aragonès' announcement. 

Although fellow pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, Esquerra's former junior coalition partner, said it would attend the meeting in June, the party's spokesperson, Josep Rius, called on Aragonès to hold another meeting with only political groups in favor of parting ways with Spain as, he argued, they should "clarify how Catalonia should achieve its independence."

Rius also said that his party would defend their position that "the mandate of October 1" is still valid, referring to the 2017 referendum not recognized by Spain in which ballots in favor of independence outnumbered those against it, and suggested the committee had been announced now because of the upcoming local elections

Similarly, Carles Puigdemont, an MEP for Rius' party and the president at the time of the vote, took to Twitter to accuse Aragonès of "imposing" an agreement while lacking "the necessary consensus."

Far-left CUP, the other opposition pro-independence party in Parliament, has not confirmed attendance to the summit in June. They will only participate if it seeks to "find a consensus on how to move forward" towards independence.

"We need to know what we are invited to," said MP Laia Estada.

The Socialists, on the other hand, described the proposal as one that "only has minority support" and expressed frustration at not yet being able to address the situation surrounding suspended Junts speaker Laura Borràs' seat in Parliament following her recent 4.5-year sentence for corruption

"Sincerely, it surprises us that when there are such serious problems in the country, the president isn't focusing all of his efforts on them," the party's parliamentary spokesperson, Alícia Romero, said. 


The conservative People's Party's Lorena Roldán, meanwhile, blasted Aragonès's proposal, arguing that "the Clarity Act is the Constitution. There is nothing clearer than that."

Roldán's former party, Ciudadanos, also criticized the president for "generating a sterile debate that takes us nowhere."

"The Clarity Act is interesting from an intellectual and dogmatic point of view, but from my human and political point of view, I prefer Article 2 of the Constitution," Nacho Martín Blanco said in reference to the point that establishes "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards."

Anti-austerity En Comú Podem, which is unaligned on the matter of Catalan independence, complained that Aragonès should not have called a meeting with parties in June "without there being a consensus and agreements."