President Mas: 27-S elections are “the last resort”

The Catalan President, Artur Mas, has stated that the 27-S Catalan elections are not an “improvised event” but “the last resort” for Catalans to decide their political future. He justified the elections by saying that up until now all attempts have “crashed into the granite wall that is Spain”. At his appearance before Parliament this Wednesday, Mas admitted that calling elections hadn’t been his first choice but that it was “the only option left”. He added that the upcoming elections “are exceptional” and mentioned the pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ as an example of this. The gathering together of “so many people with different ideologies but a common purpose has no precedents” and should at least “be respected”, he said. Mas also gave explanations for the search that the Spanish Guardia Civil carried out on the headquarters of his party CDC and those of the party’s foundation CatDem.

President Mas appeared before Parliament on Wednesday (by ACN)
President Mas appeared before Parliament on Wednesday (by ACN) / ACN


September 2, 2015 07:13 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- The President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, has insisted on the “exceptional nature” of the upcoming elections on the 27th of September and cited the pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ as an example of this. There are no precedents for gathering together “so many different people with a common purpose” he stated and asked MPs to at least “respect that”.  He also admitted that calling elections hadn’t been his first choice but that there were no other options left and he stressed that it was “the last resort” for Catalans to decide their political future. During the appearance before the Parliament this Wednesday, Mas also spoke about the recent searches carried out by the Spanish Guardia Civil on the headquarters of the President’s Liberal Party, CDC, and those of the party’s foundation, CatDem, which were part of an ongoing investigation into alleged irregular financing of CDC.

The last resort

President Mas stated before the Parliament that the upcoming 27-S elections are not an “improvised event” but “the last resort” as all the previous attempts to negotiate have “crashed into the granite wall that is Spain”  he stated. He remembered that back in September 2013 he assured that he would provide all the mechanisms for Catalan society to decide its political future. He admitted that calling elections wouldn’t be his first choice but that it would be the only option left if Catalans’ right to vote wasn’t respected.

Mas recalled especially that the Catalan Parliament asked the Spanish Congress to transfer to them the competence to be able to hold a referendum on the 9th of November (2014), and the answer was “a slam of the door”.

He added that in “normal circumstances” the upcoming elections, scheduled for the 27th September, would have been held at the end of next year but stressed that “the current circumstances are anything but normal”.

Exceptional elections

The Catalan President highlighted that the upcoming elections are “exceptional” and will definitely be regarded as a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence. He made clear that the counting of votes will be read as a “Yes” or a “No” vote for the independence process and stated that even though this plebiscitary nature won’t please everyone “the fact that you don’t like the idea, doesn’t mean it is not real”. Following this, President Mas referred to the unitary pro-independence list ‘Just pel Sí’ as a way to guarantee the exceptional nature of the upcoming elections and stated that “gathering together people with different ideologies to pursue the same objective is something that has no precedent” and that at least should be “respected”.

“Too many coincidences”

Regarding the ongoing investigation into whether companies paid a 3% commission to the CDC foundation CatDem in exchange for public contracts, President Mas didn’t hide his scepticism about its timing. He reviewed some evidence to show that the date and the way in which the search was carried out was not “a coincidence”. For example, he said that the action was "pushed" by institutions which depend on the Spanish Ministry of Interior, whose actions lately “have not been exemplary, and nor have their practices”. He added that the search occurred one month before the 27-S elections and on the same day that ‘Junts pel Sí’ organised a massive rally in Barcelona. “Too many coincidences to make it a coincidence” he summarised.

He also suggested that the five hours spent by the Guardia Civil at the headquarters of the Liberal Party CDC was a way of “extending the show as much as possible”. Mas emphasised that protected documents had been leaked and warned that “this is not entertainment, it is a crime”. He added that this crime would probably go unpunished as “nobody knows who filtered protected documents”. Finally, he questioned whether Spain really has “rule of law”.

About the alleged commission that the Liberal party CDC received from Teyco, one of the first companies to be investigated, the President said that “Teyco was hired more by other parties than by CiU” and added that the commission that the company received “was higher in 2009” when a left wing three-party coalition led by the Socialists held power.

A bid for transparency

During his appearance before the Parliament, Mas outlined that great efforts have been made over the past years to transform the Catalan Government “into a transparent administration and an example of good practice”, adding that these efforts “have worked”. He referred specifically to the fact that Catalonia´s public administration ranks first in terms of transparency in the whole of Spain.

ERC: Giving an explanation “is the minimum” Mas could do

The General Secretary of Social Democrat ERC, Marta Rovira, was the first to pose a question to the President and told him that it is very important to explain publicly about corruption “regardless of whether the time of the search was appropriate or the Spanish state uses it politically.” Rovira said that giving an explanation was the “minimum” that Mas could do and asked whether he had any knowledge of the payment of fees to finance his party.

The PP suspects Mas of “shredding papers”

The spokesman for conservative PP in the Parliament, Santi Rodríguez, asked President Mas whether he had time to hide some folders or “shred some papers” before the Guardia Civil arrived at CatDem headquarters. Rodríguez was referring to the information that points to the former treasurer of CDC, Daniel Ocàsar, having destroyed documentation that the Guardia Civil later found behind a vault. Rodriguez also challenged the President to “report” the Spanish Ministry if he thinks that their behaviour is suspicious.

The PSC to Mas: “Every day I find it harder to believe you”

The First Secretary of the PSC, Miquel Iceta, challenged Mas to prove that neither the CDC nor its foundation, CatDem have been financed illegally. “I always said that there has not been any irregularity during the period that you have been in charge. Every day this is becoming harder to believe”, he said.

The ICV accuses Mas of tolerating corruption

The President of the Catalan Green Socialist party ICV, Joan Herrera accused President Mas of tolerating corruption and doubted whether it was only “coincidence” that the headquarters being investigated where those of the CDC. Herrera also asked him not to hide behind “conspiracy theories” and not to protect himself “using the Catalan flag”

Conservative Ciutadans suggest that Mas step down

The President of Conservative Ciutadans (C’s) stated that President Mas “should step down” if he still had any dignity as CDC is involved in “six judicial processes”. Rivera also said that Ciutadans wants to win the 27-S elections and want Catalans to finally “sign Mas’ letter of resignation”.