Puigdemont: “2017 will mark the start of a new era for Catalonia”
“2017 represents the end of the pro-independence process and will mark the start of a new era for Catalonia”. This is what Carles Puigdemont proclaimed on Monday during a conference held a year after being instated as Catalan President. Puigdemont also insisted that the referendum on independence will take place and that it “will be binding because the people will participate and make it their own”. He also called on the Spanish Government “to accept the democratic mandate” and allow the referendum and warned that a ‘no’ “won’t be enough” to prevent the vote from happening. “I won’t accept a simple ‘no’, they’ll have to explain why Catalonia can’t hold a referendum as other countries do”, he stated.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, proclaimed on Monday the “end of the pro-independence process” and assured that “2017 will mark the start of a new era for Catalonia”. At a conference he gave exactly a year after being instated as Catalan President, Puigdemont insisted that the current term of office is “historic” and that it will result “in a free Catalonia” without “conditions nor assumptions”. He also addressed the Spanish Government and warned them that a ‘no’ “won’t be enough” to prevent the referendum from happening and insisted that the vote “will be binding because the people will participate and make it their own”. In this vein, Puigdemont encouraged the citizens to continue pushing and expressing their democratic wishes in order to “prove” that pro-independence aspirations are not a demand which has “emerged from a laboratory or a government bureau”.
Puigdemont stated that the referendum and the eventual independence of Catalonia will mark the start of a “new episode in Catalonia’s history”. Thus, the political agenda, will turn 2017 “into a year which will be far from ordinary”. “This is the year we have been preparing for […] and we will have to know and remember what we were doing, because the future generations will usually ask us about it”, he said.
The current political moment “is a new era, rather than a term of office or an updated version of the Spanish Constitution” he said and assured that this period will result “in a free Catalonia”. “We have to say it without conditions nor assumptions, an absolutely free Catalonia, more thriving and fairer with the new generations, which would be more in solidarity with the world, more democratic and committed to the constant updating of the democratic values”, stated Puigdemont.
A ‘no’ from the Spanish Government “won’t be enough” to stop the referendum
During his speech, Puigdemont insisted on his commitment to hold a referendum on independence in Catalonia and emphasised his wish for it to be agreed with the Spanish State. “I won’t accept the first ‘no’, nor the second”, he said. “We won’t put it that easy; they have a democratic commitment and a monosyllable won’t be enough”, he said referring to the Spanish executive’s repeated refusal to allow a referendum in Catalonia. “They will need to make an effort and explain why Catalans can’t hold a referendum as other countries have done or will do”, he said.
In this vein, Puigdemont attributed to the citizens’ and the referendum’s turnout its validity. “It will be binding because the people will participate and make it their own; they will send a clear message and therefore it will be valid”, he said.
“Now it is time for civil society to express its commitment again”, he said. “We’ll have to reiterate that this is not only a Government’s plan or an idea supported by parts of the society but a transversal and solid process, rather than a demandwhich emerged from a laboratory or a government bureau”, stated Puigdemont.