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The Catalan Socialist Party breaks due to the self-determination vote

3 MPs of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) have voted ‘yes’ to the bill requesting the transfer of the powers to organise referendums to the Catalan Government, and have thereby gone against the party’s leadership. The PSC ran in the last elections proposing a legal self-determination vote this term. But the increasing tensions with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – to which the PSC is federated – made the party’s leadership run away from this promise. However, an important minority within the PSC is strongly against this move and continues defending Catalonia’s right to self-determination. Before this Thursday’s crucial vote at the Catalan Parliament, 6 of the PSC MPs (30% of the total) had publicly expressed their serious doubts about opposing the bill. Finally, 1 MP decided to resign from Parliament one day before the vote and 3 other MPs did not follow the party’s instructions and supported the bill.

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16 January 2014 07:50 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- 3 MPs of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) have voted ‘yes’ to the bill requesting the transfer of the powers to organise referendums to the Catalan Government, and have thereby gone against the instructions of party’s Secretary General, Pere Navarro. The PSC ran in the last elections proposing a legal self-determination vote this term. But the growing tensions with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – to which the PSC is federated – made the Navarro run away from this promise. However, an important minority within the PSC is strongly against this move and continues defending Catalonia’s right to self-determination. Before this Thursday’s crucial vote at the Catalan Parliament, 6 of the PSC MPs (30% of the total) had publicly expressed their serious doubts about opposing the bill. Finally, 1 MP decided to resign from Parliament one day before the vote and 3 other MPs did not follow the party’s instructions and supported the bill on Thursday. Minutes after the crucial vote, the PSC leadership has asked them to resign from Parliament and leave the seat to the next person on the list. However, the 3 MPs announced they are not willing to quit since they consider they represent many of the PSC voters and they are loyal to the party’s origins and history. In fact, the PSC was born as after 2 Catalan Socialist parties as well as the PSOE’s federation in Catalonia had merged together in 1977. For many years, one of the PSC’s slogans was “Socialist and ‘Catalanist’, for the same reasons”. Now, with the current party leadership, this slogan seems very far away.


The 3 MPs who have finally voted for the bill and therefore against the party leadership instructions are: Joan Ignasi Elena – who is leading the most pro-self-determination faction of the party; Marina Geli – who is former Catalan Minister for Health (2003-2010); Núria Ventura, who used to be the Mayor of Ulldecona, in Southern Catalonia. The 4th MP that announced he did not want to follow the leadership’s instructions and resigned from Parliament is Angel Ros, who has been Mayor of Lleida (western Catalonia) for more than a decade.

Several leading members or former members of the PSC support the ‘rebel’ MPs

The PSC Member that would have entered the Parliament if Elena was eventually expelled, Laia Bonet, already announced she would not accept the seat. Furthermore, Bonet also announced today she was resigning from the party’s Executive Board. Bonet supports self-determination and on several occasions she has publicly disagreed with how the PSC’s Secretary General is dealing with the issue.

In the last few months, Navarro has been imposing his views and distancing the party from self-determination, in order to avoid splitting up with the PSOE. The problem for the PSC’s leadership is that it is losing many members in the process, particularly in rural Catalonia. For instance, this Thursday, the PSC leader in Mora d’Ebre (southern Catalonia) also resigned. On the same day, historical party figures, such as several former Catalan Ministers, have sent them support messages. Many of these people have abandoned the PSC in the last 2 years, since they disagree with how the party is evolving, running away from defending Catalan interests and self-determination and becoming entirely subordinated to the PSOE.

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  • From left to right: Núria Ventura, Marina Geli and Joan Ignasi Elena (by P. Francesch)

  • From left to right: Núria Ventura, Marina Geli and Joan Ignasi Elena (by P. Francesch)