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Self-determination forces clash over possibility to postpone 9th November vote if Spain blocks it

In the last few days, the centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, has sent several messages suggesting that the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November would not take place on that day if the Spanish authorities managed to declare it illegal, despite that fact that it would be backed by Catalan legislation. At first it was the President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, who stated that "the only plan is to vote", being on the 9th of November consultation or later through plebiscite elections. The last message was sent this Tuesday by the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, who said that "if the [Spanish] State puts obstacles in front of the vote on the 9th of November" the vote will be postponed. The rest of parties that support the self-determination vote – ERC, ICV-EUiA and CUP – replied to Ortega, saying that Catalans have to vote on that day. In addition, the two grass-roots organisations behind the pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 have stressed that they "will not give up on voting on the 9th of November".

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12 August 2014 09:04 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- In the last few days, the centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, has sent several messages suggesting the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November would not take place on that day if the Spanish authorities managed to declare it illegal, despite the fact that it would be backed by Catalan legislation. At first it was the President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, who stated that "the only plan is to vote", being on the 9th of November consultation or later through plebiscite elections. Then, the Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, said that "the Government has to honour the law" and therefore if the Constitutional Court banned the vote's call, it would not take place and "the last mechanism" will be to go for plebiscite elections. The last message was sent this Tuesday by the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, who said that "if the [Spanish] State puts obstacles in front of the vote on the 9th of November" the vote will be postponed. However, she said that "this does not kill the will to vote; it postpones it". The rest of parties that support the self-determination vote – the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, the Catalan green socialists and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA and the radical left and independence party CUP – replied to Ortega, saying that Catalans have to vote on that day. In addition, the two grass-roots organisations behind the pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 – ANC and Òmnium Cultural – have stressed that they "will not give up on voting on the 9th of November" because of "a ruling from the Constitutional Court". The ANC and Òmnium added that such a vote is "legitimate" and is backed by a wide majority of the Catalan society, Parliament and Government. All the opinion polls published in the last 2 years indicate that, regardless of whether people would vote for independence or not, between 75% and 80% of the Catalan population want to hold such a vote.


The Catalan Government suggests postponing the vote if the Spanish authorities block it. The Catalan Executive totally rejects doing something illegal and if the Constitutional Court decides to suspend the Catalan legislation backing the self-determination vote, its call would automatically lack the legal background to be organised. However, the body deciding which laws are legal or illegal, the Constitutional Court, lost most of its legitimacy in 2010, when it ruled against the pluri-national nature of Spain after obscure manoeuvres from the People's Party to manipulate the Court. In fact, the majority of Court members have been directly appointed by the People's Party, which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament. Therefore, many Catalans argue that such a Court cannot have a referee role, since it is biased and controlled by centralist powers, making a partisan interpretation of the Spanish Constitution. However, the Catalan Government does not want to directly challenge the Court's ruling, as it would mean challenging the entire Spanish political and constitutional system.

At the same time, the 3 other political groups in the Catalan Parliament that are backing the self-determination vote – ERC, ICV-EUiA and CUP – consider that holding such a vote is non-negotiable, since Catalans have the right to decide on their own political future and organising such a vote was the clear mandate resulting from the 2012 Catalan elections. In addition, the vote would be "legal" as it would be organised according to Catalan legislation. Therefore, the three parties consider that, despite the Spanish authorities activating all the mechanisms against the independence vote, this should take place anyway.

The ERC, which shares a parliamentary stability agreement with the CiU, asked the ruling party "to stick to the road map" leading to the 9th of November vote, and "continuing honouring the agreements". An ERC MP, Joan Tardà, suggested that otherwise the ERC could stop backing the CiU and therefore the Catalan Government would fall. The ICV-EUiA insisted that Catalans have to vote on their own collective future and that the day to do so is the 9th of November, as was agreed by a two third majority of the Catalan Parliament. Finally, the CUP rejected the "impositions" from the Spanish authorities and advocated for "civil disobedience" if the independence vote is blocked.

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  • The Vice President of the Catalan Government, Joana Ortega, a few weeks ago (by P. Francesch)

  • The Vice President of the Catalan Government, Joana Ortega, a few weeks ago (by P. Francesch)