Calling a referendum on independence continues to be one of the Catalan Government’s steadfast priorities. In order to share a message of unity with the pro-independence movement and confirm the executive’s commitment to hold the vote, the entire executive, led by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, signed a manifesto this Friday at a symbolic event held in the ‘Pati dels Tarongers’ courtyard, at the Catalan Government headquarters. Puigdemont insisted that the Government will “organize, call, and celebrate” the referendum and apply its results, despite Spain’s “threats and attempts to limit Catalonia’s self-government” and insisted that this is what “the vast majority of Catalans” want the executive to do.

“Today, the Government solemnly reaffirms, despite the threats and attempts to limit Catalonia’s self-government, its determination to organize, call, and celebrate the referendum desired by the vast majority of Catalans,” he said during the event. Moreover, he insisted that the referendum is being prepared “by many hands”.

In a similar vein, Catalan VP Oriol Junqueras pointed out that the objective of this Friday’s event is to “swear together and to each other” that the entire Government “will do whatever we need to do so that the citizens of Catalonia can participate in, can celebrate, and can win this referendum”. Junqueras emphasized that this is not only the commitment of the executive but that of the Parliament’s majority, which emerged from the 2015 Catalan elections, and in compliance with a “mandate which is perfectly legitimate and legal”. He also stated that the institutions across the country, including the municipal governments and civil society, are in favor of holding the referendum and noted that “the coordination of all these groups” is the “power necessary to turn commitment into reality”.

The entire executive attended the ceremony and signed a manifesto, read by Laura Borràs, Director of the ‘Institució de les Lletres Catalanes’, a Catalan Government organ which promotes reading and access to literature. The text states that historically the Spanish State has found it hard to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation and has opted for using force instead, “disdaining Catalonia’s freedoms”. The manifesto listed examples like the “lack of democratic respect” the “mutilation” of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, the rights and freedoms established in that document, and the recent prosecution of Catalan leaders for allowing a symbolic vote on independence in 2014.

The text also defends the “legitimacy” of the Government in carrying out the referendum. “The Government which gathers together today is the consequence of the desire of a vast majority of Catalans, not the other way round,” said Borràs.

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