catalan politics

A self-determination vote without a ‘third way’ and a more social budget for 2014

September 26, 2013 11:46 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) agreed on speeding up the process of building “state structures” and drafting the “most social budget” in Catalonia’s recent history. In addition, Mas criticised the ‘third way’ between independence from Spain and the current situation proposed by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and CiU’s ‘number 2’, saying that Catalans “have been trying” this way “for the last 100 years” and “it has never worked”. Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C’s) called on Mas to stop the self-determination process. However, the main Catalan parties, from left to right and representing 77% of the parliamentary seats, presented a common text supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination through a legal vote.

The Catalan President asks for a broad agreement to define the legal framework for a self-determination vote in 2014

September 25, 2013 10:47 PM | ACN

On the occasion of the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, called the Debate on General Policy, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked the political parties to work on a broad “triple agreement” on the exact date, question and legal framework for holding a self-determination vote. Furthermore, Mas stated that he wanted this agreement to be reached before the end of the year, in order to have the road paved for holding the vote in 2014. However, he did not say whether the question will be exclusively about Catalonia’s independence from Spain or whether a third way will also be included as an option. Besides, Mas re-affirmed his will to negotiate with the Spanish Government on the legal formula for organising a referendum. However, he also stressed that if Madrid completely rejects talks on holding a self-determination vote, there is nothing to negotiate on.

The Catalan Government passes the Foreign Affairs bill as a step towards “an ambitious future”

August 28, 2013 12:05 AM | ACN

The Catalan Presidency Minister and Government Spokesman, Francesc Homs, said in a press conference on Tuesday that the draft of the bill develops the powers granted by the 2006 Statue of Autonomy, while complying with Spanish law and constitutional framework. He added that it is an instrument to strengthen the external activities of the government of a country “that aims to become free” and is the first bill of the government focused on its foreign relations. Homs also said he is confident that, sooner or later, the European Commission will publish its opinion about the legal consequences of independence in Catalonia and Scotland.

The Catalan President denies playing any part in the ‘Palau’ corruption case before a parliamentary committee

July 31, 2013 10:40 PM | ACN

Artur Mas, the President of the Catalan Government, challenged the opposition parties to present a vote of no-confidence if they want him to step down. Mas, who leads the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Liberal party CDC, emphasised that CDC has been investigated “until the last millimetre” and the judge has not indicted any party leader or member of the Catalan Executive. He explained that the party’s finance management team and its political leadership have been separated since the late 1990s. The Catalan President insisted he believes in the word given by the party treasurer, who has been indicted by the judge. However, he guaranteed that, if the trial proves that CDC received any illegal money, the party “will return up to the last cent” and will take full responsibility for it. The opposition considered the explanations to be insufficient and demanded resignations if the corruption case is finally proven.

‘Marca España’ Deputy Director sacked after insulting Catalans on Twitter

July 22, 2013 05:00 PM | ACN

The Spanish minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García Margallo, says comments by Juan Carlos Gafo were “intolerable” and “absolutely inconsistent” with the organisation which aims to promote the Spanish image abroad. The now sacked Deputy Director said on Twitter: “F*** Catalans. They do not deserve anything at all. His words caused outcry in Catalonia, so he later apologized saying he has “nothing against Catalonia or Catalans”. He said he got “mad at hearing the Spanish national anthem booed” during the Barcelona 2013 FINA Championship.

The Catalan President and CDC leader, Artur Mas, guarantees he will react if the party’s corruption scandal is proved

July 17, 2013 09:37 PM | ACN

The day after the judge ended his investigation and stated he believed the governing party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) had earned 5.1 million in an influence peddling case, the party’s leader and President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, talked in front of the Catalan Parliament. Mas stated that the judge’s suspicions about CDC were “not proved” and he underlined the trial had not started yet. The Catalan President said he believed in the word of the party members involved in the scandal. However, he also stated that, if at the end the suspicions are backed up with proofs, he “will be the first one to act” as the party leader. The opposition parties asked Mas for further explanations.

The 'number 3' of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) is indicted for influence peddling

March 19, 2013 10:57 PM | CNA

The Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJC) has indicted Oriol Pujol, who is the ‘number three’ of the CiU – who run the Catalan Government – over a case of influence peddling regarding an irregular public tender for technical vehicle inspection garages. After his indictment was announced, Pujol “delegated” his party and parliamentary roles as Secretary General of CDC – the Liberal and largest force within the two-party coalition CiU – and as Chairman of the CiU group in the Catalan Parliament. However, Pujol explained that he would not resign as an MP, as it would be “out of proportion”. The Catalan politician insisted that he was innocent and he hoped justice would act quickly. The opposition has displayed a divided reaction: some parties have left it to the CiU to decide whether Pujol’s decision was enough while others heavily criticised him continuing as an MP.

Catalan economists want the Spanish Government “to talk without prejudgements” on Catalonia’s self-determination

February 5, 2013 10:52 PM | CNA

The Cercle d’Economia, the main Catalan economic forum open to businesspeople and academics, has published an opinion note on the political context following the last Catalan elections. In the note, the Cercle asks the Spanish Government “to talk” about the Catalan self-determination and “to reform” the Constitution accordingly. The Cercle does not explicitly back an independent Catalonia but it supports a deep reform of Spain’s territorial organisation and the finding of a negotiated solution for both parties, which may be reached through a legal referendum. In addition, the Cercle asks for a review of Spain’s internal distribution of the deficit targets among government levels and to increase those of the Autonomous Communities.

Mas is re-elected President of the Catalan Government and promises to call for a self-determination vote

December 21, 2012 11:28 PM | CNA

The Catalan Parliament has voted Artur Mas, leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), in as President of the Catalan Government with the votes of his own group and those of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). Mas has been re-elected in the first vote with an absolute majority of 71 affirmative votes from the 135 MPs. The rest of the opposition voted against him for two different main reasons: either because they opposed the budget cuts despite supporting the organisation of a self-determination referendum or because they opposed Catalonia’s self-determination altogether. Mas based his campaign on two main pillars: fighting the economic recession and the public finance crisis and pursuing “Catalonia’s national transition”.

Catalan nationalists have reached a final agreement and an independence vote will be organised in 2014

December 18, 2012 11:49 PM | CNA

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) have reached a definitive agreement ensuring the next Catalan Government parliamentary stability to approve the main laws. The CiU leader Artur Mas will be re-elected President of the Catalan Government with the ERC’s vote in the Catalan Parliament by the end of the week. However, the ERC will not sit in the Cabinet and will only offer support on the agreed issues. The last point blocking the agreement was the CiU’s refusal to set a specific date for a self-determination referendum. Finally, they have agreed on calling for a citizen vote on Catalonia’s independence from Spain in 2014. However, the CiU has managed to include a clause postponing the voting call if both parties explicitly agree to do so.

The Catalan Parliament holds the new term’s first session and re-elects Núria de Gispert (CiU) as Speaker

December 17, 2012 11:21 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The 10th legislative term of the Catalan Parliament kicked off with the election of the chamber’s Bureau, a preliminary step before voting for the President of the Catalan Government. The Speaker will now hold talks with party leaders to analyse support and designate a candidate for Catalan President. Following last week’s agreement among 5 of the 7 parties sitting in the chamber, Núria de Gispert, from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), has been re-elected as President of the Catalan Parliament. The CiU, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Catalan Socialists (PSC), the People’s Party (PP) and the Catalan Green Socialists and Communists (ICV-EUiA) have split the rest of the Bureau’s offices. The two smallest parties, the anti-Catalan nationalism ‘Ciutadans’ and the radical left-wing and independence party CUP have been left out of the Bureau.

The pro-independence ERC will guarantee its support on key issues but will not enter the Catalan Government

November 28, 2012 10:52 PM | CNA

The leader of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, has confirmed to the incumbent President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, that they do not want to sit in the Catalan Executive. However, Junqueras guaranteed Mas ERC’s support for approving the main issues, such as Mas’ re-election as President, next year’s budget and the self-determination referendum. In fact, this last point is the ERC’s main condition for the agreement. The CiU had been insisting on the need to make a stable pact with either the ERC or the PSC, after last Sunday’s electoral results, which would include sharing the government responsibilities in such difficult economic times.

Party Review – the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) asks for an “exceptional majority” to back self-determination

November 23, 2012 10:11 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The incumbent President of the Catalan Government and the main CiU candidate, Artur Mas, is asking for massive support in order to have the strength to negotiate the organisation of an independence referendum. The CiU is focusing the re-election campaign on the self-determination process, heading away from the unpopular budget cuts it has been implementing over the last two years. The CiU is currently Catalonia’s largest party, running most of the public offices. It has 62 MPs in the 135-seat Parliament and gained 38.43% of the votes in the 2010 elections. Polls give them between 61 and 71 seats, in the best scenario obtaining an absolute majority. However, the CiU campaign has been completely derailed nine days before the elections by the Spanish nationalist newspaper El Mundo, which accused Mas and other top CiU leaders of corruption. These accusations turned out to be false and Mas is now accusing the Spanish Government of playing dirty tricks.

Party Review – the Spanish Nationalist People’s Party (PP) focuses on stopping the “independence delirium”

November 21, 2012 10:32 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

As opposed to the rest of Spain, the PP is a small party within Catalonia. In the last Catalan elections, they got their best results ever, increasing from 14 to 18 seats in the 135-seat Catalan Parliament and obtaining 12.37% of the votes. In the last elections, the Catalan branch of the PP , led by Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, focused on immigration and the economic crisis. Now, while they are running the Spanish Government and have negotiated many austerity measures in Catalonia, the PP is focusing on fighting the “independence delirium”, as they call it. All its leaders, including Rajoy, are participating intensively in the campaign. The PP presents itself as the “useful vote” to stop Catalonia’s self-determination process, as they think of Spain as not being a pluri-national state. Polls give them between 16 and 19 MPs and they could become the second largest party in the Catalan Parliament.

Party Review – the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) might be the second largest party

November 19, 2012 09:56 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

ERC, now led by Oriol Junqueras, is facing the next Catalan elections aware they will significantly increase their number of MPs and knowing that they are likely to play an essential role in Catalonia’s politics in the next term. After renovating their leadership and with a moderately-pitched speech, ERC might increase the current 10 MPs – which was their worst result in 20 years – to 16 or even 19 MPs, according to the latest polls. Furthermore, depending on the results obtained by the pro-Spain unity parties PSC and PP, ERC might become the second largest group in the Catalan Parliament. In any case, as they are the party that historically supports Catalonia’s independence, ERC will offer its support to the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) to organise a self-determination referendum.