Catalan Government to ‘formally’ request referendum negotiations

  • Carles Puigdemont will send a letter during the next few days to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy

24.05.2017 - 15:33
Actualització: 24.05.2017 - 15:42

The Catalan Government decided on Tuesday to formally request negotiations with the Spanish government on the terms and conditions for carrying out the independence referendum. After the meeting of the Executive Council, the Catalan Minister of Presidency and Government Spokesperson, Neus Munté, explained in declarations to the press that the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will send a letter during the next few days to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, explaining this position. The Catalan Government avoided setting a deadline for getting a response from the Spanish government and expects a “clear” answer “reflecting the same civilized attitude as the Catalan government” and “an open mind and statesmanship,” Munté added. The Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, said that Madrid “will prevent the referendum” because the Spanish state has the “power” to do so, as it represents, she argued, “democracy”.

In the next few days, the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, which will include the text approved on Tuesday at the Executive Council of the Catalan government. The text expresses the firm desire to open negotiations about the celebration of an independence referendum, in accordance with the Spanish government. The negotiations about the terms and conditions for carrying out the referendum should be initiated “as soon as possible”, as the spokesperson of the Catalan government, Neus Munté, explained to the press after the Executive Council. In the text, the Catalan government does not specify the Catalan terms and conditions for holding the vote, because the Catalan Executive believes these kinds of questions should be discussed at the negotiating table.

The text also refers to the parliamentary election turnout in both 2012 and 2015, explaining that the majority will of the Catalan people to decide their political future was expressed in the Catalan Parliament through several agreements, which urged, each time, that a referendum be held. In this context, the text explicitly mentions the agreement reached by the Catalan chamber last October on this issue.

Similarly, the document also mentions the important civil mobilizations since 2010 and the work of the National Pact for the Referendum, which collected 500,000 signatures in only three months in favor of coming to an agreement on a referendum with the Spanish State. The text also highlights the manifesto of a broad group of prestigious lawyers who defend the position that the celebration of a referendum should be possible in a democratic state and that the Constitution should not be a wall for a political solution.

No deadline
In the letter to Rajoy, the Catalan Government will avoid setting a deadline for receiving a response from the Spanish government. The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, said on Monday in Madrid that he would wait “until the last minute of overtime” of the game. Munté refused to specify when that would actually be, adding metaphorically that to get to the last minute of the game, you first have to play the match. Munté also stressed that the Catalan government wishes to engage only in negotiations about the referendum, not the fiscal deficit or infrastructures.

On the other hand, the vice president of the Spanish Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, coincided this Tuesday with the Catalan president at an event in Barcelona. In comments to the press after the event, Sáenz de Santamaría responded to Puigdemont’s declarations at Madrid’s town hall by saying that the Spanish State represents “democracy” and “because of this power, it will prevent the referendum”. She also harshly criticized Puigdemont for “not being sincere”, because he was “offering dialogue with one hand while making plans for independence with the other”. However, Sáenz de Santamaría renewed her offer to the Catalan president to explain his proposal before Congress in order to have a “broad, open, and transparent dialogue”. The Spanish vice president also accused the Catalan president of not ruling in the interest of all Catalans, especially of those who do not want the independence of Catalonia, and added that Puigdemont does not seem to understand that the law is democracy.


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