Parliament renews its confidence in Puigdemont through pro-independence forces' votes
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont received this Thursday during the last phase of the vote of confidence the support of the majority of the Parliament. The 72 pro-independence MPs in the 135-seat Catalan Chamber, that is to say governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and their partner radical left CUP, voted ‘yes’ in the vote of confidence. Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and Conservatives the People’s Party (PP) voted ‘no’, amounting to 63 votes. Thus, the pro-independence roadmap of this term of office, which started in January and was due to last 18 months from that moment on, remains stable. “We either have to make the most of this opportunity or reject it, but we are at the final stage of a very difficult challenge which we don’t want to shun”, stated Puigdemont in his last intervention before the vote took place. “I’ve come here to ask for confidence and stability, so that we don’t damage this process from within”, added the Catalan President.
Barcelona (CNA).- The majority of the Parliament renewed this Thursday their confidence in President Puigdemont. The 72 pro-independence MPs in the 135-seat Catalan Chamber, that is to say governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and their partner radical left CUP, voted ‘yes’ in the vote of confidence. On the other hand, Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and Conservatives the People’s Party (PP) voted ‘no’, amounting to 63 votes. In his last intervention before the vote took place, Puigdemont emphasised that “four years ago there were only 10 pro-independence MPs in the Chamber and there are currently 72”, a change which he described as “real” and which emerged “from the streets”. “We either have to make the most of this opportunity or reject it, but we are at the final stage of a very difficult challenge which we don’t want to shun”, he stated.
“I’ve come here to ask for confidence and stability, so that we don’t damage this process from within”, stated Puigdemont in his last intervention before the vote this Thursday. “We either have to make the most of this opportunity or reject it, but we are at the final stage of a very difficult challenge which we don’t want to shun”, he said.
Puigdemont emphasised that “the pro-independence change in the Parliament is real and didn’t emerge from any bureau nor lobby, but from the streets”. “Four years ago there were 10 pro-independence MPs in this Chamber and today there are 72. However, the Spanish State continues to rule as if there were none”, he added. Puigdemont lamented that “nobody has done what would be expected from any company, country or organisation from which two million people wanted to unsubscribe”. On the contrary, “when the representatives of this popular will aim to obey the ballot boxes’ mandate we are criminalised for it”, he said. “We are repeatedly being asked why do we want to be an independent country, as if it wasn’t clear enough; we want a state which is by our side or at least not against us”, stated Puigdemont. “The solution to the Spanish State’s repeated unfulfilment of its promises is to have our own state, have the skills for us to rule ourselves” said Puigdemont and assured that if explained, the costs of belonging to Spain “would cause blushes first and outrage later”.
‘Junts Pel Sí’: “We are the ballot boxes and the Spanish State is the lawsuit”
The spokesman of governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ in the Parliament, Jordi Turull, commented that Spain should “appreciate Catalonia’s offer to hold a referendum”. “We are the ballot boxes and the Spanish State is the lawsuit for putting out the ballot boxes”, he stated and added that “the Government and the President have done what they committed themselves to doing, despite all the obstacles”.
“Either there is confidence or we should better let it go”, said Turull referring to this Thursday’s vote of confidence, and added that the pro-independence roadmap “has to move forward smoothly, without stumbling, and therefore pass the [budget] bill for 2017”.
‘Ciutadans’: Puigdemont is “going back to a stage already overcome”
The Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament, Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ MP Inés Arrimadas, accused Puigdemont of “lying” to Catalans by “going back to a stage already overcome” which she considers the referendum to be. During her intervention during the second phase of the vote of confidence, Arrimadas compared Catalonia’s pro-independence process with a “static bicycle which doesn’t move forward”. “There are many people making a living out of the pro-independence process, that’s why it is in your own interest to stop it from moving forward”, she stated and called the pro-independence forces to “get off the static bicycle and go for a walk around the reality of the street”. ‘Ciutadans’ leader in Catalonia also urged Puigdemont “not to prolong the agony any further” and “stop wasting citizens’ time” with the pro-independence roadmap.
“You can hold as many votes of confidence as you wish, but neither now nor never will you have the moral, political or social authority to take the Catalans out of Spain and out of Europe”, warned Arrimadas and called for the President to be “coherent” and “clear”. She also urged Puigdemont not to mirror Kosovo or ‘Brexit’ and promote the “connection” with Spain rather that the “disconnection”.
PSC: “Unilateralism goes nowhere”
Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) leader in the Parliament, Miquel Iceta, criticised Puigdemont’s proposal to hold a referendum with or without Spain’s consent. “You don’t have enough legitimacy nor strength to impose a unilateral way, nor to put the Catalan institutions above the law” he stated, adding that a unilateral referendum “goes nowhere”. Moreover, he said that Puigdemont “can’t intend to agree on a referendum by starting with an ultimatum” and added that “there is no unilateral solution to the Catalan-Spanish problem”.
CSQP: “Nobody could rule in Spain without responding to Catalonia’s challenge”
“Nobody could rule in Spain without responding to Catalonia’s challenge”, stated alternative left alliance ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ leader, Lluis Rabell. However, he considered setting a date for the pro-independence referendum to “distort its objective” and added that the referendum’s demand “doesn’t have an expiration date”.
“It is time to launch a sovereigntist strategy” stated Rabell. “If we consider this the best way out of this conflict, we have to seriously work on it”, he said and called for the President to add other sectors, such as trade unions or the cultural sector, to the sovereigntist demands. In this vein, Rabell urged the pro-independence forces to defend this strategy “since without the correlation of forces, independence is unlikely”.
PP: “Neither you nor anybody else will call an illegal referendum in Catalonia”
“Neither you nor anybody else will call an illegal referendum in Catalonia, did you hear me?” stated Conservative People’s Party (PP) spokesman in the Parliament, Xavier García Albiol. In a forceful tone, García Albiol addressed Puigdemont and urged him to make proposals “according to the law” so that they can be included “in the reform of the Constitution”. “Some people say that the CUP kidnapped you, but that it isn’t true: you are the CUP. You think, feel and act like the CUP do”, he stated.
According to Albiol, the vote of confidence “is the greatest farce of the pro-independence forces, who didn’t know how to rule and who can’t provide real solutions to Catalans’ real problems”. He added that this Thursday’s debate “shows that Puigdemont is alone and unable to get along with anybody” since “his only partners are CUP” which represents “a problem for Catalonia as a whole”.
CUP: “Holding an agreed referendum with Spain is impossible”
Pro-independence radical left CUP insisted that “holding an agreed referendum with Spain is impossible, otherwise we would already be discussing the date”, CUP MP Anna Gabriel stated. “An agreed referendum is your choice, we know that it is an impossible way” she stated and warned that this may “endorse Spain’s lack of democracy”. Gabriel urged Puigdemont to “announce a date for the referendum next week” and added that the question “has to be very simple: independence ‘yes’ or ‘no’”.
Regarding their support for Puigdemont, Gabriel emphasised that “confidence is not a matter of faith but rather is based on facts”. She also referred to Puigdemont’s call for CUP to back the budget for 2017 in order to guarantee the Government’s stability. She expressed the party’s willingness to pass the bill but refused to “give the green light to the budget before having seen it or if the bill is the same as that presented in June”. “The budget might be a very important tool in order to bring this term of office to a good harbour, but not just any budget”, she concluded.