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Notícies

Divendres  10.01.2014  14:45

Thousands sign 'right to petition' in order to vote on independence

The "Sign for a vote" campaign set up 400 tables around Catalonia on Saturday and Sunday to help residents to exercise their 'right to petition'

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Three thousand volunteers set up tables in 400 cities and towns all over Catalonia in order to educate citizens about the 'right to petition' and to help them exercise that right. Many of the local Barcelona chapters of the Catalan National Assembly left their neighborhoods on Saturday to set up around the central Plaça Catalunya square in Barcelona from 10am until 9pm, but volunteers will return to local districts on Sunday from 10am until 2pm.

Volunteers said there had been a steady stream of people signing throughout the day with one table claiming it had collected more than 600 signatures. Authorized representatives carefully verify citizen's data—with their ID card or passport—to ensure that only one signature is taken from each person. "We have to do this right," said one volunteer.

Xavier Muñoz was interviewed in the VilaWeb newsroom on Friday and explained the 'Sign for a Vote' campaign [Signa un vot, in Catalan]. The campaign aims to use the right to petition—which Muñoz says is recognized not only by the Spanish Constitution and Catalan law but by most constitutions in the world—to demand the right to hold a referendum on independence. If the Spanish government refuses to allow such a vote, the petition asks, and indeed authorizes, the members of the Catalan Parliament to declare Catalonia's independence.

Muñoz is a lawyer and legal scholar and also a volunteer with the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the organizing group behind the Sign for a vote campaign. He says that the ANC is a completely grass-roots organization, receiving no funding at all from the government. He says the ANC's relationship with the Catalan government is one of support but also pressure, pushing it towards independence. Muñoz will manned a Sign for the vote table in Santa Coloma de Farners, near the town of Girona.

A Plan B for the referendum

This campaign was one of five of the highlighted projects planned by the Catalan National Assembly in 2014. The event coordinator, Rosa Alentorn said, "it's a Plan B in case they don't let us hold a referendum".

The form to be signed demands that the Members of Parliament 'do whateer they can, exhausting all avenues, in order to hold a referendum" And in the event that it cannot be held, that they consider each form as a vote in favor of declaring independence.

Signature collections started months ago in a pilot program, in order to establish the procedures by which the signatures would have validity and also to create the network of authorized personnel who could validate the signers' data. Now there are 3000 qualified signature-takers throughout Catalonia.

Volunteers will continue to collect signatures in the coming weeks and the effort will continue abroad as well. In addition, the ANC plans on holding another massive signature collection in the Spring.

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