Agreement in Catalonia to stand by the Catalan school model despite the Spanish Government’s reform

December 12, 2012 11:36 PM | CNA

The parties supporting the current school model, representing 80% of the new Catalan Parliament, and Catalonia’s School Council – with all the stakeholders – have met to decide upon a consensual answer to the Spanish Government’s Education Reform relegating the Catalan language and centralising competence. The meeting ended with a consensual decision to stick to the current Catalan Education Law if the Spanish Executive does not change the spirit of its reform and continues to insist on breaking up the school model that has been in place for more than 30 years. Cancelling the linguistic immersion model would mean splitting Catalan society into two language communities, which is absolutely not acceptable to the wide majority of Catalans. The current model has been validated twice by the Spanish Constitutional Court and is based on Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy which was approved via referendum.

Self-determination parties clearly win the Catalan elections but the governing CiU loses significant support

November 26, 2012 02:27 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The parties defending the organisation of an independence referendum within the next four years increase their support and obtain 64.4% of the seats in the new Catalan Parliament. In addition, the parties clearly defending independence get 54.4% of the MPs. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which has been running the Catalan Government and aimed for “an exceptional majority”, loses 12 MPs thus obtaining only 50 seats in the 135-seat Parliament. The Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) becomes the second-largest force, increasing the number of its MPs from 10 to 21. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) drops from 28 to 20 seats. The People’s Party, which currently runs the Spanish Government, increases their support by 1 MP, obtaining 19 seats. Support for the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) grows from 10 to 13 MPs. The anti-Catalan nationalism and left-wing party Ciutadans (C’s) triple their results and obtain 9 MPs. The radical left-wing and independence coalition CUP enters the Parliament with 3 MPs.

Pro-independence parties would clearly win the Catalan elections but the governing CiU would lose support

November 25, 2012 10:11 PM | CNA

According to the exit polls, the parties supporting independence would obtain between 58% and 64% of the seats in the Catalan Parliament in the elections with the highest voter turnout ever. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) would win the elections again but it might lose some support, falling far short of an absolute majority. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) would double its results, becoming the second largest force in the Parliament for the first time ever. Support for the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) would plummet and it could lose 40% of its seats. The People’s Party (PP) might stagnate or even lose 2 seats. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) might stagnate or increase by 2 seats. The anti-Catalan nationalist party could double its results but will probably remain a small party. The radical left-wing and pro-independence CUP could enter the Parliament.

Catalans vote on Sunday focusing on the independence process after a tense campaign

November 24, 2012 12:04 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Nobody doubts that the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) will win the elections again, but it is not clear if it will obtain an absolute majority or even lose some MPs. However, these elections are not so much about parties but they have de facto turned into a plebiscite on the Catalan peoples’ right to self-determination and the organisation of an independence referendum. If the parties defending the organisation of a self-determination referendum and independence clearly win the elections as expected, Spain would face its deepest political crisis of the last three decades. Knowing this, the campaign has been the tensest ever, including dirty tricks being played by Spanish nationalists against the CiU. However, many citizens will also vote while thinking about the last two years of budget cuts. Thus, left-wing parties supporting independence are likely to get more support.

Party Review – the Catalan Green Socialists and Communists (ICV-EUiA), the most vocal opposition to budget cuts

November 20, 2012 11:15 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

With 10 MPs and 7.37% of the votes in the last Catalan elections, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) has been the most vocal opposition to the Catalan Government’s austerity measures, despite being the fourth largest party in the Catalan Parliament. ICV-EUiA is trying to attract those who participated in the numerous anti-budget cut demonstrations, as well as those who attended 15-M Movement protests. Polls indicate that the ICV-EUiA might increase their support but are not conclusive as to what extent, as it seems they could obtain between 10 and 16 MPs. Besides the social and environmental agenda, the ICV-EUiA openly supports Catalonia’s self-determination right and the organisation of an independence referendum next term. However, Joan Herrera refuses to say if he personally supports the push for independence, as he says it would depend on the alternatives offered.

The official campaign for the Catalan elections starts focused on the independence debate

November 9, 2012 10:56 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Elections for the Catalan Parliament, which will elect the next President of the Catalan Government, are to be held on the 25th of November. The two-week electoral campaign has started, with Catalonia’s independence as the main topic of debate, while opposition parties are trying to put the budget cuts and the recovery from the economic crisis upfront. On Thursday, minutes before midnight, political parties officially kicked off the campaign, although the race started a month and a half ago, when the Catalan President, Artur Mas, called for early elections. Surveys indicate that Mas’ party, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), will win the elections again, with improved results and close to an absolute majority. Catalonia’s political map may change with the Socialist Party likely to drop.

Support for Catalonia’s independence grows and polls say pro-independence parties would win the next elections

November 8, 2012 06:37 PM | CNA

Just before the Catalan election campaign kicks off, the survey centres run by the Spanish and the Catalan governments have both issued their own polls. 57% of Catalans would vote for independence in a referendum, according to the Catalan survey. In June the percentage was 51%. The Spanish survey did not include the question. Both polls agree that the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – currently running the Catalan Government – would gain more votes, close to obtaining an absolute majority. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is against independence and already obtained its worst results ever in 2010, would lose between 30% and 45% of MPs. The People’s Party (PP) would obtain similar results, but might become the party in second place. The Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) would increase its representation by 40% to 70% and might become the third party.

74% of Catalan citizens are in favour of holding an independence referendum in Catalonia

October 11, 2012 01:29 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

A poll taken by the Catalan Survey Institute points out that only 19.9% of Catalans would be against organising a referendum asking if Catalonia should be a new independent European state. 6% would be undecided. The poll also reflects electoral preferences in the next Catalan elections, scheduled on 25th November. 26.3% of citizens would vote for the ruling Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which would clearly win the elections. However, those undecided represent 34.6% of the people interviewed. The votes for the main opposition party in Catalonia, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), would plummet to only 3.1%. The parties clearly supporting the self-determination (CiU, ERC and ICV-EUiA) would become Catalonia’s first, second and third parties.

The Spanish Education Minister: “Our interest is to ‘Spanishise’ Catalan students”

October 11, 2012 12:03 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

José Ignacio Wert, the Education Minister, made this statement at the Spanish Parliament, while defending the recentralisation measures he is trying to implement. Wert’s words have provoked major outrage in Catalonia. The Catalan Government, all the non-Spanish nationalist parties, trade unions and civil society organisations have qualified Wert’s statements as being “totalitarian”, “a barbarity”, and “pre-Constitutional”, reminding them of Franco times. Furthermore, many citizens channelled their outrage for Wert’s words through Twitter, making the related hashtag Spain’s main trending topic. Besides, results show Catalan students have better results in Spanish than Spain’s average.

Two thirds of the Catalan Parliament approve organising a self-determination citizen vote within the next 4 years

September 28, 2012 01:51 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

15% of the MPs oppose the decision, all members of Spanish nationalist parties. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) abstains, although one of its veteran MPs backs the citizen consultation. This was the last vote of the Catalan Parliament this term, as early elections have been called, on 25th November, which may turn into a plebiscite on the right to self-determination. The Spanish Government has stated it would immediately block such citizen vote by bringing it to the Constitutional Court, since it has to authorise any referendum in Spain. Furthermore, the day before it stated it will “calmly and firmly” oppose Catalonia’s independence process.

The Catalan President will organise a vote for self determination even if the Spanish Government bans it

September 27, 2012 02:35 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, the parties assessed the current situation and the Catalan President’s speech from yesterday. The parties that openly support Catalonia’s independence backed the Catalan President and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) but asked to rush proceedings. Those supporting the right to self-determination but not necessarily independence and those directly opposing independence criticised CiU’s policies for fighting the crisis and its focus on the process to create a state. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, offered a detailed reply to each intervention. However, he also made an announcement: if he is re-elected President, he will organise a referendum on self-rule, even if the Spanish Government bans it.

Catalan President calls for earlier elections on 25th November, which may turn into a plebiscite

September 26, 2012 02:33 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

“In exceptional times, exceptional decisions are needed”, stated the Catalan President, Artur Mas. After the 1.5 million strong independence demonstration on September 11th, the Spanish PM’s refusal to negotiate a fiscal agreement for Catalonia, and days of speculation, Mas called for elections. He announced the decision in the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, in which he stated that budget cuts will continue, although “austerity cannot be the only value”. He also accused the Spanish Government of being “disloyal” and imposing stricter deficit targets on the Autonomous Communities. Catalan nationalist parties are celebrating the call for elections for giving the people a say, while the rest accuse Mas of putting his party’s interest first by deviating attention away from the dramatic economic situation.

Spanish King states that “it is not the time [...] to divide forces” and “chase pipe dreams”

September 19, 2012 01:58 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In a very unusual movement, Juan Carlos I has issued a short but clear letter one week after the massive demonstration for Catalonia’s independence. The King emphasised the need to remain “united” and asked the people to retake the “values” of the “Democratic Transition”, such as “dialogue” and “the sacrifice of particular interests for the general good”. The Catalan Government does not feel “concerned” by the King’s letter. However, it states that Catalonia “offers solutions” and “does not chase pipe dreams”. Spanish nationalists celebrate the King’s words while PM Mariano Rajoy still remains silent. Catalan and Basque nationalists criticise the King for taking sides and not emphasising values such as “pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and respect for discrepancies”.

The Catalan Government requests €5.02 billion from the Spanish Executive but will not accept “political conditions”

August 28, 2012 10:32 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government emphasised the money requested comes from Catalan taxpayers, since Catalonia pays €17 billion each year for services and investments in the rest of Spain. Nonetheless, the Catalan Executive stated it will meet the deficit targets and will follow the already approved austerity plan. The Spanish PM and leader of the People’s Party (PP) confirms it will “help Catalonia as we help the other Autonomous Communities”. However, the PP Spokesperson in Catalonia said the Catalan Government will have to accept whatever the conditions are. The Catalan Socialists want to know what the €5 billion will be spent on before supporting the decision. The Catalan Independence parties criticised the decision for having given away Catalonia’s autonomy.