joan herrera

Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ERC wins elections for the first time

May 26, 2014 01:37 AM | ACN

Parties supporting self-determination have won the European Parliament elections in Catalonia by a clear margin; elections which have seen turnout increase from 36.9% in 2009 to 47.4% this time around, spurred by the independence debate. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) obtained 23.7% of the votes, whereas in 2009 it secured only 9.2%. The Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), which has been in government in Catalonia since 2010, has more or less kept the same percentage of the vote, going from 22.4% to 21.9%, despite austerity measures adopted in the past few years. Support for Spain's two main parties, the People's Party (PP) – currently in government – and the Socialists (PSOE), has plummeted in Catalonia.  The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), part of the PSOE, retained only a third of its 2009 share of the vote, going from 36% to 14.3%. The PP now becomes the 5th most popular party, decreasing from 18% of the vote to 9.8%. Meanwhile, the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), which also supports self-determination, increased its percentage of the vote from 6% to 10.3%. The anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (C's) also polled well, increasing its share of the vote from 0.3% to 6.3%.

Rajoy gives another “no” to Catalonia and offers a banned Constitutional reform

April 8, 2014 11:56 PM | ACN

On Tuesday evening the Spanish Parliament rejected a motion to transfer to the Catalan Government the power to organise a specific non-binding self-determination referendum, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. 86% of all Spanish MPs rejected a motion presented by the Catalan Parliament to this effect, which was backed by some two-thirds of Barcelona’s Chamber. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected the petition using his own interpretation of the Constitution, stating that Catalans could not possibly hold a vote on this issue within the current legal framework and therefore he could not authorise it. However, he pointed out that the Constitution could be reformed, although at the same time he has been blocking this way in recent years and has refused to talk about it. The Catalan representatives argued that allowing a self-determination vote was only a matter of political will.

Catalonia's self-determination process carries on despite the Constitutional Court's decision

March 26, 2014 08:47 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated on Wednesday that the self-determination process will go on despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling against the 'Declaration of Sovereignty' the day before. Mas insisted that the process "continues", since it is based on its democratic legitimacy, it adheres to its peaceful nature and will use all the existing legal frameworks. On the same day, the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega, sent a letter to all the Mayors in Catalonia to ask for their "compromise and co-operation" in organising a self-determination vote. Besides, the Catalan Parliament has elected the 3 MPs who will go to Madrid and ask for the transfer of referendum powers using Article 150.2 of the Constitution.

Extreme right organisation files a criminal complaint against Catalan President for sedition and rebellion

February 20, 2014 10:36 PM | ACN

Manos Limpias, a Spanish extreme right-wing organisation, presented on Wednesday before Catalonia’ Hight Court (TSJC) a criminal complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for the charges of perverting the course of justice, disobeying judicial authority, rebellion and sedition. According to the plaintiffs, the Catalan President is using all means available to achieve Catalonia’s independence. The far-right union mentions the creation of new ‘state structures’, disobeying the Constitutional Court by giving statements that point towards holding a self-determination vote and violating the Spanish Constitution. In the complaint, Manos Limpias is demanding Mas to be interrogated as a suspect while several Catalan politicians would be witnesses.

Parties supporting the self-determination vote explain the agreement reached

December 12, 2013 07:46 PM | ACN

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), led by Mas and running the Catalan Government, emphasised that “today we are writing history”. In addition, the Christian-Democrat force within the two-party coalition CiU, UDC, highlighted that having an “inclusive and clear” question was possible. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) recognised it was not their preferred question but it is now theirs it directly asks about independence. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) pointed out that the question also suits those defending a Catalan State within a federal Spain. The radical left-wing and independence party CUP accepts the question in order to have the widest possible pact. The parties appeared together before the press to present the pact and answer questions, joined by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who announced the question and date.

Catalonia agrees on its independence question to be voted on November 9, 2014

December 12, 2013 03:37 PM | ACN

“Do you want Catalonia to become a state? If yes, do you want this state to be independent?” This is the “inclusive” and “clear” question that the parties supporting Catalonia’s self-determination vote have agreed on this Thursday. The parties also agreed on holding the vote on November 9, 2014, “giving the Spanish institutions time to negotiate with the Catalan institutions within the legal frameworks, which are numerous”. The agreement was explained by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in a solemn appearance, joined by the leaders of the parliamentary groups supporting the vote. The question is “a compromise”, as “it allows voting for a change of the status quo” and “also allows voting on independence”. It is backed by 4 parliamentary groups, representing 64.5% of the Catalan Parliament’s seats.

Catalan President foresees a “clear” self-determination question backed by “a wide majority”

December 4, 2013 08:26 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said that he is “convinced” that parties will be able to agree on a “clear” question for the self-determination vote. Before the Catalan Parliament, Mas added he believes the question’s formulation will be supported by “a wide majority” of parties. He highlighted the need for a clear question, as in Scotland’s referendum, in order not to “allow different interpretations on the following day”.  Mas pledged the parties to reach a wide consensus on the exact question, date and legal way to organise the self-determination vote, because “a part of Catalonia’s strength lies here”. Parties supporting the organisation of such a vote have publicly stated they were committed to reach an agreement before the end of the year. Mas ratified this announcement last week.

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 majority of Catalan parties propose an independence vote in 2014 the day after the human chain

September 12, 2013 10:19 PM | ACN

The day after Catalonia’s National Day and the 1.6 million strong human chain supporting independence from Spain, Catalan parties reacted to the massive demonstration. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, re-affirmed yesterday his “commitment” to organising a referendum on self-determination for 2014. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) declared its intention to work with other parties and civil society organisations on having the question and exact date for the vote ready within the next two months in order to call it in 2014. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) asked the other parties to put forward their projects for the day after the referendum.

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.

The political summit for Catalonia's right to self-determination decided to include civil society

May 7, 2013 02:28 AM | CNA

However, the participating political parties could not agree on a plan to organise a self-determination vote: some would like to combine the organisation of the vote with the creation of state structures while others ask for neutrality and refuse to identify self-determination as a solution to Catalonia’s economic crisis. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, called for a summit to discuss ways to obtain the right to self-determination and be able to organise a referendum on this issue. All the parties supporting self-determination, including the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), participated in the meeting, as well as the Catalan Government, the four Provincial Councils and representatives from town halls.

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.

The Catalan President in Brussels: Catalonia “expects Europe will not let it down”

November 7, 2012 11:04 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, held a debate in Brussels, at an event organised by the think tank Friends of Europe. Mas praised Catalonia’s European and democratic traditions. He talked about the self-determination process he is leading, which will be “scrupulously democratic”, “absolutely peaceful”, “demonstrably transparent”, “with an ample majority” and “within the framework of the European Union”. “What I want for Catalonia is for it to be its own State that must, necessarily, share interdependencies within a more united and stronger Europe”, he stated. If Catalonia could not remain in the EU, he would still ask the Catalan people about their future, “as it is the most important thing”. The opposition parties criticised Mas’ trip before the start of the electoral campaign.

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.