"Spain can change the monarch, but Catalonia's political process goes on", states Catalan President
After the abdication of King Juan Carlos was announced this Monday morning, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, made a statement in which he emphasised that Catalonia's self-determination process was continuing. Mas wished the Crown Prince and soon-to-be new King Felipe "good luck" and "to make wise decisions and be successful, because we want things to work out for Spain, and the monarchy represents the Spanish State." However, he asked the new King and the rest of Spanish institutions "to respect the Catalans' will" to hold a self-determination vote in order "to decide on our collective future, based on mutual respect and loyal cooperation". Such a vote has been scheduled by a large majority of Catalan parties for 9November, 2014.
Barcelona (ACN).- After the abdication of King Juan Carlos was announced this Monday morning, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, made a statement in which he emphasised that Catalonia's self-determination process was continuing. Mas wished the Crown Prince and soon-to-be new King Felipe "good luck" and "to make wise decisions and be successful, because we want things to work out for Spain, and the monarchy represents the Spanish State." However, he asked the new King and the rest of Spanish institutions "to respect the Catalans' will" to hold a self-determination vote in order "to decide on our collective future, based on mutual respect and loyal cooperation." Such a vote has been scheduled by a large majority of Catalan parties for 9 November, 2014. Mas highlighted how Catalans embraced the 1978 Constitutional Pact but how a large majority of them feel "disaffection" since they see this agreement has not been honoured.
Catalan institutions "respect" the King's decision
A few minutes after the King had appeared on TV to personally explain the reasons of his decision, which had already been announced by the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, offered an official statement from the Generalitat Palace, the seat of the Catalan Government. Mas wanted to firstly express his "respect" for Juan Carlos' decision, adding that "after almost a 40-year reign, it might seem to be a logical decision, congruent with what we might call normality." However, Mas additionally underlined that "there are also a series of circumstances that we might consider special." The Catalan President pointed out that "prudence" was required to evaluate those "special circumstances," which might even be called "exceptional," he said.
"A majority of Catalan people feel […] disaffection" with Spain's main institutions
Secondly, Mas highlighted how the Catalan people strongly and "sincerely" backed Spain's democratisation process and "the Constitutional Pact" of 1978, support that "was not only sincere and committed but also very widespread." The Catalan President emphasised that "the main institutions of the State" – "the Monarchy, obviously, the Constitutional Court, the General Courts [Parliament and Senate] and some others" – were "to be the guarantors" that the Constitutional Pact was completed and honoured. However, this has not been the case, and now "a majority of Catalan people feel a distance, some might even call it disaffection, even so much as a disconnection with the majority of the institutions of the State." According to Mas, part of this disaffection is because these institutions did not honour the Constitutional Pact. Catalans widely supported the Constitution with the implicit promise that, once democracy had been consolidated and military threats had faded away, Catalonia's nationhood status would be recognised and the Catalan language would stop being considered as an anomaly to correct by the Spanish institutions. However, since the 1990s, Spanish nationalism is rising again and Spain has not recognised its pluri-national status.
Mas declined to analyse Juan Carlos' role and responsibility in the current situation, particularly on this special day. The Catalan President said that "obviously, as in any long project and trajectory […] there have been pluses and minuses." In addition, Mas wanted to highlight "the positive contributions" the King has made "during these last four decades."
In Catalonia "there is always the desire for things to go well for Spain"
Thirdly, the Catalan President wished "all the best luck and success to the new Monarch, that today is Prince Felipe." "In fact we wish the best for the whole of Spain and as much as the Monarchy institutionally represents the Spanish State, we also with is the best," said Mas. The Catalan President wanted to particularly emphasise that "the Catalan institutions" and "the majority of the people in Catalonia" always share "the desire for things to go well for Spain", even if they would now vote for independence.
In fact, on many occasions the Catalan President and other political leaders have highlighted that Catalonia's self-determination process is not against anyone but it is to allow the Catalan people the democratic freedom to decide on their own collective future. Mas added that he does not only want the best for Spain but that he also wants the best "for Catalonia and for its people, for the 7 million Catalans". "And the best for Catalonia right now is to be able to decide freely, democratically and peacefully its future as a nation," he emphasised.
The Spanish nation exists, but the Catalan nation exists as well
Mas explained that King Juan Carlos talked in his announcement "about the Spanish nation," which, the Catalan President affirmed, "we, obviously, do not deny." "But next to the nation that he [Juan Carlos] refers to, there is also the Catalan nation, of which these very walls of the Palace of the Generalitat de Catalunya are a clear, living testimony." Mas underlined that" the best thing for Catalonia" is to hold a self-determination vote. "We have an appointment with the future as a country on 9 November this year, 2014," said Mas, referring to the date to hold a consultation vote on Catalonia's independence from Spain.
"After today's announcement, there will be […] a change of the King of Spain" said Mas, "but the Catalan political process will continue forward." "There will be no change in the political process that the people of Catalonia are following, so that on the 9 November we can decide with this degree of freedom, democracy, and above all peaceful spirit, our collective future," he said.
"Respect" for Catalonia's self-determination
At this point, the Catalan President asked "all of the institutions" of Spain to "respect the will of the Catalan people to freely decide its collective future, and that this be done with an attitude of mutual respect, open dialogue and loyal cooperation."