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Puigdemont asks Spanish politicians for “courage” to “negotiate a referendum”

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, regretted in a speech on Friday in Madrid that so far the Spanish political class has behaved as if it was “not concerned” by the pro-independence movement going on in Catalonia. Puigdemont urged the politicians that will need to form a new government in Spain to have “courage” in order to negotiate a referendum. According to him, “Catalans’ patience is not infinite”. “We won’t sit still with folded arms eternally”, he warned, asking Madrid to engage in “dialogue” with the Catalan administration. In another event, on Thursday in front of members of the business community, Puigdemont said that his government will never disobey the law while following the path towards independence. “I know that some people use the word ‘disobedience’. I won’t use it nor will my government”, said the Catalan President.

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27 May 2016 02:52 PM

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ACN

Madrid (CNA).- The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, urged Spanish politicians to find the “courage” to “negotiate a referendum” in Catalonia. In a speech in Madrid on Friday, Puigdemont regretted that, so far, the Spanish political class has behaved as if it was “not concerned” by the pro-independence movement going on in Catalonia. Puigdemont urged the politicians that will need to form a new government after the election on the 26th of June to find a solution to the Catalan situation which would allow citizens to express their opinion on independence at the ballot box. According to Puigdemont, “Catalans’ patience is not infinite”. “We won’t sit still with folded arms eternally”, he warned, asking Madrid to engage in “dialogue” with the Catalan administration. In another event, on Thursday in front of members of the business community in Sitges, Puigdemont said that his government will never disobey the law while following the path towards independence. “I know that some people use the word ‘disobedience’. I won’t use it nor will my government”, he said.


Puigdemont asked Spain to engage in negotiations for a referendum “within a year”, the period which the Catalan government still has left in office, according to its roadmap for independence. The Catalan President made this request in front of 25 diplomatic delegates, the Catalan Ministers Neus Munté and Meritxell Borràs, the spokespersons of liberal CDC in Congress and the Senate and representatives from the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), such as the former minister Ángel Gabilondo. However, no member of the current Spanish government, led by the conservative People’s Party (PP), attended the conference.

The Catalan President warned Madrid that if it continues to act as if it is “unconcerned” about events in Catalonia it will soon find itself in a lot of trouble. “This is not a temporal issue of some crazy politicians and brain-washed citizens”, he warned, asking the Spanish government to stop “looking away”. Puigdemont said that the best solution to the Catalan situation is one “agreed by everyone”.

“We need courageous dialogue to find a shared solution”, he said, emphasising that this “is the most convenient scenario” for both Madrid and Barcelona. However, Puigdemont regretted that so far the Spanish political class “hasn’t even had the courage to avoid a new election”. “How then could they find the courage for a constitutional reform?”, he asked.

Catalonia will not disobey

In a previous event with members of the business community, Puigdemont said that his government will never disobey the law while following the path towards independence. During the inauguration of the 32th Conference of the Cercle d’Economia in Sitges, Puigdemont insisted that he wants dialogue with the Spanish government and reassured businesspeople that the process will go “law by law” and offer “legal certainty” at every step of the way. “I know that some people use the word ‘disobedience’. I won’t use it nor will my government”, said the Catalan President. Puigdemont said that his government will never leave the negotiation table, but regretted that, so far, the Spanish executive has refused to discuss any petition presented by Catalonia.

“Someone said I have a proposal to disobey the law. I don’t. I never talk about disobedience, but rather about obedience. I always said we have to go from one law to another, I always speak about legal certainty. There is no other way”, said the Catalan President. His government aims to create ‘state structures’ for an independent Catalonia over an 18-month period and then celebrate elections to elect a constituent Parliament that would have the challenge of drafting a Catalan Constitution. Only after that Constitution is approved by citizens in a referendum would independence be declared. In other words, Puigdemont’s strategy is to transition from the current Spanish legislation to the Catalan Republic legislation, therefore aiming not to break any laws in the process.

Some members of the business community, however, are sceptical about this and asked Puigdemont about the uncertainty in Catalonia. The Catalan President said it is in Spain where there is no government and, thus, uncertainty. In Catalonia”, he stated, there is a government with a clear mandate and a clear path, even if not everyone likes it. However, he reminded businesses that he will always be willing to negotiate with the Spanish government but that Madrid has so far refused to consider any petition. In fact, the President said that even the proposals of the Cercle d’Economia, which in the last few years have included petitions to reform the autonomic state and the fiscal agreement and celebrate some kind of consultation, have fallen on deaf ears. “The first proposal from the Cercle was almost four years ago and no reform has been put through, on the contrary, there is a trend towards recentralisation of powers”, Puigdemont regretted.

The Catalan President said that the “support for stagnation” of the Spanish government has boosted support for independence in Catalonia, increasing the number of members of parliament openly in favour from 14 to 72. Puigdemont agreed that there should be a petition “widely shared” between the different business, political and social sectors in Catalonia in favour of more self-government, a fair fiscal system and a recognition of the singularities of Catalonia. However, he stated that considering the pro-independence majority in the Catalan Parliament, Spain is “democratically and politically forced to offer a solution” to this issue as well.

During the inauguration of the conference, the president of the Cercle d’Economia, Anton Costas, said that Spain faces a moment of “political fracture” because of the lack of agreement between the different political parties. The business leader also warned that the issue of Catalonia is “the main political problem in Spain” and urged the political class to work to avoid “stagnation”.

 

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  • The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

  • The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)