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UDC ministers quit Catalan government over independence row

Tensions over the issue of independence between the two parties forming the CiU coalition have caused a government crisis in Catalonia. Three ministers from the Christian-Democrat party UDC, the smaller party within the CiU, have left government after their allies of 37 years, CDC, presented them with an “ultimatum”. The governing council of UDC decided on Wednesday, with 16 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, that Vice-president Joana Ortega, Minister of Agriculture Josep Maria Pelegrí and Minister of Home Affairs Ramon Espadaler, who is also the secretary general of UDC, should quit Artur Mas’ government. UDC voted on Sunday by a slim majority in favour of an ambiguous stance on the issue of independence, in which the party supported the right to self-determination but fell short of stating whether or not Catalonia should actually vote ‘yes’ to full independence from Spain. Following the result, the Liberal party CDC, led by Mas, urged their coalition partners to state clearly whether or not they are for independence. Elections to the Catalan Parliament are expected to be held on the 27 of September, and may be considered a plebiscite on independence. Tensions between CDC and UDC over the reluctance of the latter to clearly support independence make it unlikely that they will run together, although UDC has said it will still provide parliamentary support to CDC in the coming months and won’t split the coalition at local level.

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17 June 2015 08:56 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Tensions over the issue of independence between the two parties forming the CiU coalition have caused a government crisis in Catalonia. Three ministers from the Christian-Democrat party UDC, the smaller party within the CiU, have left government after their allies of 37 years, CDC, presented them with an “ultimatum”. The governing council of UDC decided on Wednesday, with 16 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, that Vice-president Joana Ortega, Minister of Agriculture Josep Maria Pelegrí and Minister of Home Affairs Ramon Espadaler, who is also the secretary general of UDC, should quit Artur Mas’ government.

 


UDC voted on Sunday by a slim majority in favour of an ambiguous stance on the issue of independence, in which the party supported the right to self-determination but fell short of stating whether or not Catalonia should actually vote ‘yes’ to full independence from Spain. Following the result, the Liberal party CDC, led by Mas, urged its coalition partners to state clearly whether or not they are for independence. Presented with what they considered to be an “ultimatum”, the leadership of the Christian-Democrat party decided that they should quit the government.

Elections to the Catalan Parliament are expected to be held on the 27th of September, and may be considered a plebiscite on independence. Tensions between CDC and UDC over the reluctance of the latter to clearly support independence make it unlikely that they will run together, although UDC has said it will still provide parliamentary support to CDC in the coming months and won’t split the coalition at local level.

The president of the governing council of UDC, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, said on Twitter that CDC presented them “with an ultimatum to say either yes or yes” to the issue of independence. “There is no dialogue”, he stated regretfully. The secretary general of the party, and up until now Minister of Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, said that the decision “doesn’t imply the split of the CiU federation”, the nationalist party formed by CDC and UDC that has for most of the last 37 years led the Catalan government. Traditionally, CiU was a nationalist party, but not a pro-independence one. Over the last few years, however, and under the leadership of Catalan President Artur Mas, its main party CDC has become openly pro-independence, thus causing tension with its traditional allies, UDC.

 But even within UDC there are strong supporters of independence. In fact, Antoni Castellà, secretary of Universities and Research and member of UDC, warned that he doesn’t want to resign despite his party’s decision. “I would never resign in order to put pressure on the President of the Government so that he gives up on independence. Never”, he said after the UDC leadership decision was announced. According to Castellà, one of the main pro-independence voices within UDC, the decision to quit the government is “blackmail”. Castellà regretted the stance of the governing council of UDC and urged an extraordinary party congress to deal with the issue of independence.

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  • Joana Ortega, Ramon Espadaler and Josep Maria Pelegrí, from UDC, have quit the Catalan government (by ACN)

  • Joana Ortega, Ramon Espadaler and Josep Maria Pelegrí, from UDC, have quit the Catalan government (by ACN)