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Dilluns  07.04.2014  11:15

Catalan leaders travel to Spanish Congress to request official powers to hold a referendum

Representatives from the Catalan Parliament will most likely have the door slammed in their faces tomorrow in the Spanish Congress · Sánchez-Camacho is convinced that PM Rajoy will offer more self-government and better financing in an attempt to put the brakes on the referendum


Jordi Turull (CiU), Marta Rovira (ERC), and Joan Herrera (ICV) will travel to Madrid tomorrow as representatives of the Parliament to ask the Spanish Congress to transfer the necessary powers to the Generalitat so that it can authorize, call, and carry out a referendum on Catalonia's political future. It is the next step in the sovereignty process that the country is going through, even though it's practically a given that the Spanish Congress will deny the petition. President Mas predicted yesterday that the Catalan representatives will be told no, but he warned that that does not mean that the process will be aborted, just the opposite.

Sánchez-Camacho: "There will be an offer of an improvement in self-governance and of financing"

It was also announced yesterday that the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, will participate in the congressional debate. Meanwhile, the president of the Catalan branch of the PP, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho said that the ruling PP would make an offer during the session to improve Catalonia's financing and self-government in order to avoid the referendum. That is, it's probable that the Congress will deny the Generalitat the power to hold the referendum, but to make up for it, it will make an offer so that the Generalitat abandons the project.

Ortega: "We're not trading baseball cards* here; they can't tell us they're going to improve our financing in exchange for not holding the referendum"
But if we listen to declarations from the Government and from Catalan representatives, in addition to the popular outcry, whether or not to hold the referendum is not open to negotiation. The Catalan Government’s vice president, Joana Ortega, insisted yesterday that no offer from the Spanish Government can avert the referendum: "We're not trading baseball cards here; they can't tell us that they're going to improve our financing in exchange for not holding a referendum. It's on our road map and we are committed to it." In comments on the program "El Suplement de Catalunya Ràdio", Ortega also said that a negative reply to the demands of the parliament is a no to the entire people of Catalonia.

Mas: "You can say no to a law, but you can't stop the will of the people of Catalonia"
The debate in the Spanish Congress also comes just a few days after the annual general meeting of the Catalan National Assembly in Tarragona (photos) as well as the commemoration of the centennial of the Mancomunitat, two events in which, first the civil society and next President Mas, Catalonia’s highest elected representative, expressed steadfast commitment to the referendum. Mas was very clear (video in Catalan). "If they tell us no, they can can say no to a law, but they can't stop the will of the people of Catalonia." And he insisted, invoking Francesc Macià and Enric Prat de la Riba—Catalan leaders from the early 1900's involved in the self-government project that was the Mancomunitat—that stopping the process would be very difficult because behind the decisions of the Catalan governing bodies there is a "social structure" and there is a "symbiosis between the people and the institutions".

Turull, Rovira, and Herrera all also assume that the Spanish Congress will say no tomorrow. But Rovira insisted that she plans to defend the parliamentary petition with potent arguments just the same. For many, indeed, this is nothing more than one more step in the process, which aims to be ordered and elegant, in which the answer from Madrid matters not very much, or not at all, no matter what it is.

*N.B. Ortega said “cromos” and not actually “baseball cards”, but it amounts to the same thing: playing cards collected and traded by children.