Puigdemont “will do the same” as previous Government regarding the 9-N consultation
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated this Thursday that he “will do the same” as the previous Government did regarding the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014. “If the Government has to make decisions in a comparable situation, we will do exactly the same and assume responsibility before those who believe that the Rule of Law is not reinforced by participation but through the Court”, he said. Puigdemont made this statement, joined by Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, after meeting with former Catalan Minister and Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, who is due to testify before the Supreme Court for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, expressed his support for the previous Government’s decisions regarding the organisation of the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. “If the Government has to make decisions in a comparable situation, we will do exactly the same and assume responsibility before those who believe that the Rule of Law is not reinforced by participation but through the Court”, he said this Thursday. Thus, Puigdemont backed the several former ministers and the former Catalan President, Artur Mas, who are currently being investigated for disobeying the Spanish Constitutional Court and allowing the consultation to take place. Indeed, Puigdemont made this statement after meeting with former Catalan Minister and Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, who is due to testify before the Supreme Court on Monday in connection with the case.
Together with Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, Puigdemont wanted to publicly show the Government’s solidarity with Homs ahead of his statement before the Supreme Court. The Catalan President also emphasised his support for the other public figures summonsed, that is to say former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, “because the Government fulfilled the highest mandate in a democracy: that of the citizens”. He added that they “won’t be alone”, neither in giving their testimonies, “nor on the following day or the day when the sentences are handed out”.
Puigdemont insisted that the previous Government “didn’t violate a single law” but “reinforced the Rule of Law” since “it is democracy which reinforces the Rule of Law”. He warned the Spanish State that it won’t be possible to move forward by using the court and assured that “the democratic aspirations of the citizens, which are expressed through its legitimate institutions, are above any other consideration”. According to the Catalan President, “the Government’s duty is to listen and obey the legitimate institutions” and that thanks to these “it was possible to hold a pacific, conciliatory and colossal exercise of democracy in Catalonia”, referring to the 9-N symbolic vote on independence.
In a similar vein, Junqueras explained that the reason behind the meeting with Homs was “to reinforce the Government’s commitment to democracy and to the citizens’ right to vote and to decide the future of their country”; an agreement that “doesn’t expire and which has been endorsed through the ballot box”. “We will always keep this agreement, and so will the majority of this country through its institutions”, he stated.
Government figures summonsed for the 9-N
Last October, two days after the 27-S elections, Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) confirmed the prosecution of current Catalan President Artur Mas, former Vice-President Joana Ortega and Catalan Minister of Education Irene Rigau for having authorised and co-organised the non-binding and symbolic vote on independence that took place on 9 November 2014. The TSJC launched a judicial investigation into “alleged disobedience” after charges were pressed by several individuals and organisations, including extreme-right associations and the Spanish Public Prosecution Office, whose director is appointed by the Spanish Government. The prosecution by the Spanish authorities has been extremely controversial, from both the legal and the political points of view.
Mas, Ortega and Rigau were summonsed for disobedience, perversion of justice, misappropriation of public funds and taking advantage of their positions of public office. Later, former Catalan Minister for the Presidency and Mas’ right-hand man, Francesc Homs, was called before the Court accused of disobedience, perversion of justice and misappropriation of public funds.
The Catalan Government considers the TSJC decision a “democratic anomaly” and has described it as a “political judgment”, and believes, as Mas has stated, that "the success of democracy should never end up in the court".