òmnium cultural

Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans to try to ban massive pro-independence rally in Barcelona

May 4, 2015 09:36 PM | ACN

Ciutadans (C’s), the anti-Catalan nationalism party that could become Spain’s third-largest party according to many polls, stated on Monday that they will do everything in their power to stop the next massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona from happening. Since 2012, every 11th of September (which is Catalonia’s National Day), the main pro-independence civil society associations have organised a massive rally, such as the 400 km-long human chain spanning Catalonia from north to south in 2013 and the V-shaped demonstration occupying more than 11 km of Barcelona’s two main avenues in 2014. More than 1.5 million people participated in each of the demonstrations, which have always been peaceful and cheerful, claiming Catalonia’s right to self-determination. This year, another massive demonstration is planned, which is to occupy all of Meridiana Avenue, symbolically going from the Catalan Parliament to outside the city.

Pro-independence parties agree on generic road map to build a new state if they win September elections

March 13, 2015 11:27 PM | ACN

The political parties and the main civil society organisations that support Catalonia's independence from Spain have agreed that the Catalan Parliament will issue a formal declaration to start building a new state and launch a constituent process, which would be put to a citizen vote at a later stage, if they obtain a parliamentary majority in the September elections. They have been holding a series of talks over the past few weeks in order to agree on a road map that sets out the steps to follow in case pro-independence parties obtain an absolute majority in the next Catalan Parliament elections. These elections have been called early and are being presented as a 'de facto' referendum on independence by the parties supporting this option, since they are the only way to hold a legal vote on this issue after years of the Spanish Government's unilateral blocking attitude.

1.4 million Catalans signed international complaint against Rajoy for banning self-determination vote

January 19, 2015 11:50 PM | ACN

The document will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The Spanish Government “violates the Catalan people’s right to decide its own political future and bans the exercise of democracy through a referendum or an internationally standardised consultation vote”, reads the complaint, signed by 1,386,628 citizens and 3,703 elected representatives such as mayors and MPs. They complain about the “Spanish Government’s anti-democratic attitude”, which ignored an electoral mandate from 2012 to hold a legal and binding self-determination vote in Catalonia, among other facts. The signatures were collected during the symbolic vote on independence held on 9 November by the civil society organisations Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, as well as by the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI). 

Catalans to have ‘de facto’ referendum on independence via early elections on 27 September

January 14, 2015 10:55 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has announced early elections to be held on the 27th of September this year, which will become a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence from Spain. Before then, the Catalan Government and Parliament will continue to develop some basic state structures, such as Catalonia’s own tax administration and Social Security system. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the opposition left-wing pro-independence party ERC have now “rebuilt” their parliamentary stability pact for the current term after weeks of public disagreements and confusion over the next steps of the self-determination process. After a long meeting on Wednesday evening between Mas, the ERC’s President Oriol Junqueras and representatives from the main civil society organisations supporting independence, they have also agreed on running separately but sharing the same road map to build an independent state from the day after the elections, if a majority of Catalans vote for this option. 

Catalan President proposes 3 electoral scenarios to left-wing independence leader

January 9, 2015 09:43 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, has sent a letter to the President of the opposition left-wing pro-independence party ERC, Oriol Junqueras, in which he has proposed 3 different formulas for early elections being transformed into a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence from Spain. Mas and Junqueras disagree about whether to run together or separately, and also whether these elections should be to firstly negotiate independence with Spain and later ratify independence through a referendum, or to directly proclaim independence and draft a Constitution. On Friday, after weeks of negotiations between Mas, Junqueras and the main civil society organisations backing independence, the Catalan President is making a public move to unblock the current situation, which is discouraging many pro-independence supporters. 

Pro-independence parties keep arguing about running together or separately in early elections

December 5, 2014 09:29 PM | ACN

Early elections at the Catalan Parliament transformed into a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence is the only formula left to allow citizens to hold a self-determination vote. However, parties supporting self-determination, and particularly those supporting independence, do not share the same approach about how to ensure it will become a true plebiscite, nor on the exact steps that should follow if they were to win.  The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, wants to run through a broad single list grouping many ideologies together. However, left-wing parties are against this formula and want a debate on social issues and corruption. Both approaches pretend to be the one that guarantees the highest number of pro-independence votes. At present, parties and civil society organisations are holding intense talks to explore a consensual way out.

Not all pro-independence parties are willing to join Catalan President’s shared electoral list

November 26, 2014 09:14 PM | ACN

Parties supporting the self-determination process have expressed their first reactions to the Catalan President’s offer to run in early elections by sharing the same electoral list and negotiating independence from Spain in a maximum of 18 months, if they obtain an absolute majority. The two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition (CiU), headed by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, is divided: Mas’ Liberal party CDC wants to join it but the leader of the Christian-Democrat force UDC is sceptical, since he opposes independence. The left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, which tops most of the opinion polls, is thinking about it and its leader, Oriol Junqueras, will make his own proposal next Tuesday. The Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition (ICV), which supports Catalonia’s self-determination but is divided about whether or not to be independent, rejected Mas’ offer and accused him of forgetting about social and corruption issues. Finally, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP rejected the single list formula.

Almost 2 million Catalans had participated in non-binding vote before 6pm, 2 hours before closing time

November 9, 2014 09:45 PM | ACN

At 6pm, 2 hours before polling stations closed their doors, 1,977,531 people had peacefully cast their vote in the non-binding participatory process on independence, which was carried out with no remarkable incidents. Therefore it is very likely that the vote will go beyond the barrier of 2 million participants, which had been informally considered a few days ago the target figure for considering the vote to be a success. The census of Catalans aged 16 or older represents around 5.4 million people, but this participatory process is not a regular election, it has no legal effects, it is being run by volunteers and the Spanish Government has put manifold obstacles in its path , including last-minute pressures and veiled threats. In addition, a figure exceeding 2 million people already represents more participants than the massive pro-independence demonstration of the last Catalan National Day, when 1.8 million people formed an 11-km-long mosaic.

Catalans start voting in festive atmosphere, without police blocking access or identifying volunteers

November 9, 2014 11:19 AM | ACN

The citizen participation process on independence has kicked off at 9am on November 9 despite the temporary suspension of the Constitutional Court. Finally, the 1,317 voting centres hosting 6,695 polling stations have opened their doors without major incidents, as has been confirmed by the Catalan Government. Long queues of voters were waiting to cast their ballot in a festive atmosphere from early morning. The vote is being run by 40,930 volunteers, but the Catalan Executive is actively behind the process. During the day it will offer turnout figures and it should announce the results on Monday. The ballot boxes are located in high-schools run by the Catalan Government or in municipal centres in small towns and villages. A delegation of international observers is monitoring the process. Several Spanish nationalist parties and organisations have filed judicial complaints asking for the vote to be stopped and members of the Catalan Government to be arrested. In addition, the Public Prosecutor Office – obeying the Spanish Government –asked the Catalan Police to identify the volunteers opening the voting centres, but the Catalan Government refused to do so as they had authorised volunteers to access public venues.

November 9 is "using freedom of expression" to say "we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain

November 6, 2014 09:00 PM | ACN

The President of the civil society association Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals, stated that "the mere fact of going with a ballot to the polling station" is "already a success" and will show that "the Catalans' tenacity is stronger that the Spanish State's repression". In an interview with the CNA, Casals stated that "the Spanish democracy has an important failure" as it does not allow "Catalans to vote on our future". Therefore November 9's citizen participation process "is a first step towards using freedom of expression […] to say what we are saying: we are looking for a new relationship" with Spain. The President of one of the grass-roots associations that organised the 3 massive pro-independence demonstrations in 2012, 2013 and 2014 complained that Catalans "have not been recognised as a people with our own culture, with our own language, with our own economic needs, by the different Spanish Governments". Therefore "the best thing" is "to become a new state in Europe", she concluded.

Spanish Government is considering appealing against Catalonia's alternative vote on November 9

October 24, 2014 08:11 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government announced on Friday that it has asked its legal services to analyse all the aspects of Catalonia's alternative vote of the 9th of November, which is replacing the original consultation vote that has already been banned by the Spanish authorities. 16 days before the consultation vote has to take place and 10 days after it was announced by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, the Spanish Executive is starting to pave the way for appealing against this new participatory process that asks Catalans their opinion about independence from Spain. On Friday, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, stated that Mas is pretending to replace "an illegal process for one that is even more antidemocratic". Therefore, it seems that after a few days hesitating whether or not to ban the new vote, the Spanish Government will probably appeal against it and make the Constitutional Court temporarily suspend it. In the last few days, Catalan political parties and civil society organisations have rebuilt their unity of action, which seemed broken during the time the Spanish Government was hesitating.

National Alliance for Self-Determination to work on making alternative consultation vote on November 9's a success

October 24, 2014 07:59 PM | ACN

Catalonia's National Alliance for Self-Determination, which brings together more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organisations, pledged to make sure that the alternative participatory process scheduled on the 9th of November will be a success, in terms of voter turnout and of other "great mobilisations". Despite the acknowledged limitations of this alternative vote that replaces the original consultation vote scheduled on the same day, the National Alliance has agreed to focus its collective efforts on this day's success, also backing "other forms of mobilisation that will strengthen citizen participation" in the self-determination process. Furthermore, the Alliance Coordinator, the veteran Christian-Democrat politician Joan Rigol, stressed that political parties will also focus on this day and will increase "coordination" to overcome recent tensions among them. The National Alliance will meet again after November 9 to discuss the next steps.

High-schools will host ballot boxes on November 9 and 26,000 volunteers have already signed up

October 20, 2014 09:34 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government is disclosing further organisation details of the alternative participatory process that will take place on the 9th of November, which is replacing the original consultation vote that was banned by Spanish authorities. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, announced that 26,372 volunteers had already signed up on Monday afternoon to help in the organisation of the 9th of November's vote. 20,000 were initially required, but Homs announced that registration would remain open because "the greater amount of resources we have, the better". In addition, high-schools will be the 700 Catalan Government's venues that will host the 6,000 voting booths. In the small rural towns and villages without high-schools, the Catalan Government is talking with municipalities to find alternatives.

Main left-wing parties supporting previous consultation vote meet and ask for early elections

October 20, 2014 08:50 PM | ACN

After the civil society demonstration that took place on Sunday asking for the rebuilding of the unity of action and calling early elections, there has been some confusion regarding the Catalan Government's announcement of a "pre-agreement" on "a technical" unity for the alternative participatory process on the 9th of November. In the morning the Catalan Government's Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, announced such a pre-agreement with the alternative left and radical independence CUP and was hoping the other parties would join it. The CUP refused such a pre-agreement. In addition, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC and the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA met after knowing this announcement and asked for early elections. In addition, they said they will keep working for a shared proposal to strengthen the democratic guarantees for the new November 9.