The Christian-Democrats within the governing CiU propose a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation
Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) – which is the Christian-Democrat party and smaller force within the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – insisted that he does not want independence from Spain, but a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation. Duran – who is also CiU’s ‘number 2’ – has been proposing this formula for years. However, in the last few months and particularly on the occasion of the 400-kilometre human chain, Duran has emphasised his stance, while the larger party within CiU – the Liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) – was increasingly supporting independence. Nevertheless, Duran insisted that Catalonia must vote in a self-determination referendum, where he will defend a third way “between independence and submission”.
Barcelona (ACN).- Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) – which is the Christian-Democrat party and smaller force within the governing two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – insisted on Monday that he does not want independence from Spain but a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation. In an article published by Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, Duran – who is also CiU’s ‘number 2’ – insisted that he will defend a third way “between independence and submission”, and he emphasised that Catalan citizens must decide their collective future in a self-determination referendum. Duran has been proposing this formula for years, although in the immediate months after last year’s massive independence demonstration in Barcelona, he was more ambiguous. In the last few months, and particularly on the occasion of the 400-kilometre human chain, while the larger party within CiU – the Liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) – was increasingly supporting independence, Duran has made his stance clear. In addition, he has drawn a specific political profile for UDC, opposing independence but supporting the creation of a Catalan state within a Spanish confederation. CDC – whose leader chairs the Catalan Government – declined to start a public controversy with Duran over his recent statements against independence, but pointed out that “CiU’s electoral programme” is “clear and explicit”. In the last Catalan elections, which were held in a plebiscitary atmosphere in November 2012 – two months after the 1.5 million strong demonstration in Barcelona - , CiU’s platform was to engage in organising a self-determination vote in Catalonia within the next term and building a Catalan state. CiU won those elections but lost 12 MPs compared to the results obtained in 2010. However, parties supporting the creation of a Catalan state globally obtained an absolute majority and those defending the organisation of a self-determination referendum obtained 80% of the seats.
The People’s Party proposes creating a front against independence
On the day CiU’s ‘number 2’ was re-affirming that Catalonia should remain in Spain, but as a state within a Spanish Confederation, the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – proposed the creation of a front against independence. The PP’s Secretary General, María Dolores de Cospedal, said in Madrid that parties opposing independence in Catalonia should unite to stop the increase of independence supporters, defend the unity of Spain and explain the benefits for Catalans of remaining in Spain. De Cospedal, who has a significant record of being particularly vocal against CiU, proposed that UDC join the front. She also extended the invitation to the anti-Catalan nationalist and populist party Ciutadans (C’s) and to the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). Despite opposing independence, the UDC and PSC both defend the right to self-determination of Catalan people, a right completely rejected by the PP and C’s, which defend Spanish nationalist stances.
UDC and PSOE reject the PP’s offer
A few hours after the offer was made, the UDC rejected the PP’s offer, stating that they are “a Catalan nationalist party”, and that they defend a Spanish Confederation with a Catalan State. In addition, the Catalan Christian-Democrats insisted that the Spanish Government should authorise the self-determination vote and stop opposing it. The PSOE also rejected the PP’s offer, saying they will not join “an immobility pact”. The PSOE added that they want Catalonia to find a better accommodation within Spain, through the creation of a truly federal Spain.