Spanish parties united against referendum

From Rajoy to Sánchez to Rivera, the leaders of Spain’s main political groups speak out against October 1 vote


Spanish president Mariano Rajoy speaking in front of Parliament on Wednesday (by ACN)
Spanish president Mariano Rajoy speaking in front of Parliament on Wednesday (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 4, 2017 07:09 PM

If one thing unites the Catalan and Spanish governments, it is the claim each make that they are acting in the defense of democracy. With expectation growing that the Catalan government will this week unilaterally call an independence referendum for October 1, the Spanish executive was busy on Monday preparing for the coming political battle. “A democratic government that goes against the fundamental law of democracy, the Constitution, cannot exist,” said Spanish President Mariano Rajoy. Calling the planned referendum “a scam”, Rajoy pledged that his government would respond to the calling of the vote “with firmness, intelligence, proportionality and calmness.”

Rajoy gave a wide-ranging rejection of the referendum, arguing that even as president he did not have the authority to negotiate Spain’s sovereignty and that the pro-independence parties had forged ahead with their project despite knowing it was illegal and without international support. What’s more, Rajoy accused the pro-independence parties of splitting Catalan society and putting the country’s institutions into the hands of radicals and extremists.

With the bills enabling the referendum expected to be passed in the Catalan Parliament this week, Rajoy insisted that the pro-independence parties would not succeed. “They cannot have a referendum like they want because they do not have the powers and there is no law that authorizes them,” he said, adding: “It is not on the order of the day for Wednesday’s plenary session and there is no time to pass it. And if they do, it will be illegal.”