josep antoni duran i lleida

Potential pro-independence coalition after Catalan elections turned into independence plebiscite

October 16, 2014 09:11 PM | ACN

After the cancellation of the original consultation vote scheduled for the 9th of November, parties are preparing for hypothetical early elections, transformed into a de facto referendum on independence. The parliamentary stability alliance between the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the opposition left-wing Catalan independence party ERC is seriously damaged. This affects the approval of the Catalan Government's budget for 2015 and a potential electoral alliance in such a plebiscite on independence. CiU, formed by the Liberal CDC and the Christian-Democrat UDC, and social-democrat ERC were the three main parties within the pact for the consultation vote scheduled. As preparations for the 9th of November would have required breaking Spanish law, tensions between them were raised. After the pact was broken, there have been efforts to work together again on different fronts, while UDC is looking for new allies.

The People's Party offer to form a grand coalition against Catalonia's independence is only accepted by UPyD

September 5, 2014 10:08 PM | ACN

On Friday, in Badalona (Greater Barcelona), the Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, launched the idea to form a wide-spectrum coalition against secession in the next Catalan elections, which should unite all of the parties opposing independence from Spain. However, it has been rejected by the main parties which were targeted, and only the Spanish nationalist UPyD, which gets marginal results in Catalonia, has welcomed the initiative. According to Cospedal, this united list should bring together the PP (running the Spanish Government), UPyD, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist C's, and the Christian-Democrat UDC, which is part of the two-party centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. The PSC and UDC – which recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination - have totally rejected the idea. Even so, the PP's leader stated that "in Catalonia there is an undercover dictatorship", pushing for "a single way of thinking".

CiU's 'number 2' quits his post within the coalition but continues leading the Christian-Democrats

July 21, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, who was the Secretary General of the centre-right pro-Catalan State two-party coalition CiU, quit his post on Monday in the middle of the tensions for the self-determination vote and Catalonia's potential independence from Spain. However, Duran will continue to lead the Christian-Democrat party within the CiU (UDC) and to be the CiU's strong man in Madrid. In addition, one of his closest allies within UDC, Ramon Espadaler, will take his place as Secretary General. Duran is against independence, although he supports building a Catalan State within a Confederated Spain as well as the self-determination vote scheduled on the 9th of November. However, since a wide majority of people within the CiU would vote for independence (including the Catalan President, Artur Mas), internal tensions for Duran's personal stance have increased. Furthermore, there are increasing rumours that the CiU could break up for the first time in more than three decades.

Catalan nationalists denounce their exclusion from the King's abdication process and abstain

June 11, 2014 09:30 PM | ACN

King Juan Carlos' succession process is not explicitly backed by the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition Convergència i Unió (CiU), which played a crucial role in Spain's Transition from dictatorship to democracy and guaranteed on many occasions Spain's stability. However, this time, the CiU has decided to abstain in the vote on the Law on Juan Carlos' abdication, as it was announced last week. The CiU accused Spain's two largest parties – the governing People's Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – of having excluded them from this and previous processes. The bill was approved on Wednesday by 85% of the Spanish Parliament, but only with the votes from the PP, the PSOE and the Spanish nationalist and populist UPyD. The Catalan and Basque conservative nationalists have abstained, while the left-wing Catalan parties have voted against it. The CiU was an essential part of the consensus of the 1978 Constitution, which once again proves to be broken.

Business and Socialist pressure to talk and to reform Constitution, but Spanish Government remains opposed

May 30, 2014 10:30 PM | ACN

On Thursday and Friday, several messages were sent from business circles and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) aiming to negotiate a Constitutional Reform to find a better accommodation of Catalonia within Spain. However, on Friday afternoon, the Spanish Government once again closed the door to such a Constitutional Reform saying there was "no consensus". In the morning, Spain's largest business owners association stated that "laws are not immortal" and "can be changed to adapt to reality". The day before, the President of the Cercle d'Economia business lobby said he supported "a legal" consultation vote "agreed with Spain", but asked the Catalan President "to give dialogue a second chance" and reform the Constitution if necessary. On Friday, the Secretary General of the PSOE stated that such a Constitutional Reform should be negotiated among the governing People's Party (PP), the PSOE and Catalonia. However, it would not recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination. The CiU's 'number 2' replied that the Spanish Government rejects talks. 

Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) not to sit in Catalan Government despite winning European elections

May 26, 2014 11:36 PM | ACN

The President of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) Oriol Junqueras has confirmed that his party will not sit in the Catalan Government “for the moment”, despite having been often offered the chance to do so by the governing Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), and winning Sunday’s European elections. It was the first time in the 37 years of democracy that the ERC won an election in Catalonia. Instead, Junqueras praised the leadership of the President of the Catalan Government and CiU head, Artur Mas, which he called “stronger than ever”. The CiU won some 100,000 additional votes on Sunday compared to 2009, although its percentage of the vote decreased slightly since turnout grew considerably. However, the People’s Party Secretary General, María Dolores de Cospedal, insisted that the elections were “a warning message to Mas”. Despite self-determination parties having clearly won the elections in Catalonia and the PP having its percentage of the vote halved, de Cospedal rejected the idea that support for independence is increasing.

Catalan President insists citizens will vote after Rajoy asks him to give up referendum plans to start talking

April 23, 2014 09:40 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has insisted that he will call for the consultation vote on Catalonia's independence, despite the Spanish Government's obstructive attitude. Mas was answering Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who asked him to give up on his referendum plans in order to start talking. For the Catalan President, this is not an offer to talk but "an imposition". Mas insists that the reason for not allowing Catalans to vote is not legal, since several legal ways have been identified to organise such a vote, but a lack of political will from the Spanish authorities. The Catalan President sent a clear message to the European Union: "the dynamics of states cannot drown the dynamics of peoples". He emphasised that the democratic will of the Catalan people has to be taken into account by the EU. Furthermore he praised Catalonia for being an example of "integrating people with very diverse origins […] without falling into populist and xenophobic movements", which "have been emerging in Europe lately".

Madrid admits incipient talks with Catalonia on the self-determination issue but rejects allowing a vote

October 31, 2013 09:13 PM | ACN

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría made it clear that “members of the Spanish Government” and “members of the Generalitat [Catalan Government]” have been holding meetings in the past few weeks, including the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. “We inform about some of them and about others we do not, out of consideration for the delicate subject”, she stated. Sáenz de Santamaría insisted that talks were just starting; “we are in an incipient phase”, she stressed, “to acknowledge that channels for negotiation have to be found”. However, she totally rejected the main demand from a broad majority of Catalan society, for allowing a self-determination vote to take place in Catalonia. The Deputy PM did not want to disclose any part of the Spanish Government’s strategy on how to handle the issue. However, she praised the figure of the ‘number 2’ of the Centre Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida.

The Catalan Executive expects the Spanish establishment to make an offer regarding Catalonia’s self-government

October 29, 2013 09:52 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In the last few days, there has been an attempt to build bridges between Catalonia and Spain, despite the visible increase of tension between the two governments. In public the Catalan and Spanish Executives are heading for a collision but at the same time discreet manoeuvres explore alternative ways out. This Tuesday, the ‘number 2’ of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government – Josep Antoni Duran I Lleida acknowledged that he met with the Spanish Prime Minister and leader of the People’s Party (PP) Mariano Rajoy on the 16th October. Besides, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, met on Friday with the Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to talk about a constitutional change. Today, the Spokesperson of the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, stated that Catalonia is waiting for an offer from the Spanish establishment. Although “there is no deadline” for this offer, the self-determination process will not be waiting for it, although if it arrives it will be studied.

The Christian-Democrats within the governing CiU propose a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation

September 23, 2013 09:51 PM | ACN

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) – which is the Christian-Democrat party and smaller force within the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – insisted that he does not want independence from Spain, but a Catalan state within a Spanish Confederation. Duran – who is also CiU’s ‘number 2’ – has been proposing this formula for years. However, in the last few months and particularly on the occasion of the 400-kilometre human chain, Duran has emphasised his stance, while the larger party within CiU – the Liberal Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) – was increasingly supporting independence. Nevertheless, Duran insisted that Catalonia must vote in a self-determination referendum, where he will defend a third way “between independence and submission”.

Spanish Government blames Catalan and Basque nationalisms for the lack of foreign investment and job creation

August 24, 2012 10:54 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The ‘number two’ of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalists (CiU), Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, immediately replied that the Spanish Government is “the one creating mistrust” because of “its discrepancies” and Mariano Rajoy’s “absenteeism”. He also criticised the Spanish Government for not putting in place an action plan to promote employment, “despite having the tools to do so”. Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, the Spanish Government’s Deputy Prime Minister and Spokesperson, has blamed Catalan and Basque nationalisms for “promoting a climate of instability”. They create “mistrust and insecurity”, which “keeps away foreign investment” and “job creation”, said Sáenz de Santamaria the week Basque elections have been announced.

Madrid’s President demands playing the Cup Final without an audience to avoid supporters booing Spanish anthem

May 23, 2012 08:31 PM | CNA

Esperanza Aguirre, one of the main representative from Spanish Nationalism, has asked to postpone the game or playing it in an empty stadium in order to avoid supporters whistling and booing the Spanish National anthem and Prince Felipe, as was the case in 2009. This season’s Spanish Cup Final will be decided in Madrid between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club of Bilbao, a Catalan and a Basque team. Catalan politicians have criticised Aguirre for mixing football and politics. CiU and the PSC have coincided in pointing out that Aguirre is ready to talk about the Cup Final but not about Madrid’s public deficit deviation. Besides, an extreme-right demonstration in Madrid organised on the same day has been authorised.

The Spanish Government doesn’t transfer the money, but transfers the blame

April 25, 2012 12:36 AM | CNA

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, blamed the Autonomies and town halls for Spain’s public deficit. Montoro stated that the Spanish Government is meeting the deficit objective for 2012 with the results from the first quarter. However, Catalan MPs reminded Montoro that he is refusing to pay the money it owes Catalan institutions and that with this strategy he transfers the blame for the deficit by not transferring the funds. The Catalan Government directly accused the Spanish Executive for their “massive lie”. According to internal studies from the Catalan Government, the Spanish Executive made incorrect calculations by saying the Autonomies could save €10 billion in healthcare and education with last week’s measures.

The privatisation of Barcelona El Prat and Madrid Barajas airports halted by the new Spanish Government

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

The participation of the Catalan business community and local governments in the management of Barcelona’s Airport has been halted. This has been a long-term claim by many in Catalonia, as they believe that the centralised management of the airports has clearly benefited Madrid over Barcelona. The new Spanish Minister for Public Works and Transport announced the decision to cancel the tender process to privatise the management of Spain’s two main airports, Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat. The reasons for the decision have been put down to a negative time for the markets and a desire for the value of the assets to increase in the future.

Rajoy’s centralist proposals put Catalan forces on guard

December 19, 2011 11:54 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The winner of the Spanish Elections, Mariano Rajoy, outlined his government programme at the parliamentary debate on his approval before being officially appointed Prime Minister. Rajoy, without revealing any details, talked about redefining public powers, reforming public administrations, homogenising welfare policies and ensuring market unity. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) warned Rajoy of not affecting Catalonia’s self-government with his reforms.