Alternative left coalition ‘En Comú Podem’, which gathers together members from Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, the Catalan branch of the Spanish party ‘Podemos’ and representatives from the ‘En Comú’ candidacies, which won significant mayoralties, such as that of Barcelona, has repeatedly expressed in favour of holding a referendum in Catalonia. A vote which must have “all the guarantees” rather than being “a 9-N plus”, said ‘En Comú Podem’s leader, Xavier Domènech, at a press conference in the European Parliament this Tuesday. Domènech considered it “absolutely key” to count on the EU institutions’ support in order to effectively hold the referendum, but insisted that this endorsement should be achieved “through persistence rather than urgency” and that “holding conferences in Europe” will not be enough. In this vein, he admitted that “the Spanish State’s pressure” to diminish international support for the referendum “are public and obvious”.

‘En Comú Podem’, the alternative left coalition which wonthe last Spanish Elections in Catalonia, obtaining 12 MPs in the 350-seat Spanish Parliament, bid for “finding alliances” and “fighting for the recognition of Catalonia’s right to decide” first, since “this is real” in comparison to “other scenarios which haven’t occurred yet”. In this vein, their party leader called for the Catalan Government and those parties in favour of holding the referendum to “find ways of dialogue” and “international support” by offering “clear offers and clear messages” rather than “multiple roadmaps”.

Moreover, according to Domènech, establishing a “competition” over who calls the referendum fastest won’t help “understanding” the problem between Catalonia and Spain, especially in Europe. “We don’t talk about calendars nor timing, it is part of other political parties’ compromise”, he said. In this vein, holding a vote on Catalonia’s political future “goes much further than political promises” and he added that “hurrying towards reaching rights is not appropriate”.  Instead, he bid for “finding ways of dialogue which enable a better understanding of the problem”.

Spain’s pressures to prevent international support
Domènech also admitted that “the Spanish State’s pressure” to prevent the referendum from gaining international support “are public and obvious”. However, the fact that “the current European scenario is not especially favourable can’t justify any negligence in the task”. “Our message is clearly in favour of Catalonia’s right to decide”, he said.

“A referendum with guarantees”
‘En Comú Podem’s leader also insisted on his party’s bid for holding “a referendum with guarantees” which “embraces the majority of Catalan society” and which has “legal effects” and “recognition”. “If there is a referendum in September 2017 we will be there…if there is a referendum..”, he insisted and emphasised that the vote has to be an “effective” referendum rather than “a 9-N plus”, that is to say, a repetition of the non-binding consultation on independence which took place in 2014.

Domènech refused to act as “a prophet” and forecast whether the referendum will take place as scheduled, since in the last year “absolutely incredible things” have happened. In this vein, he lamented Spain’s use of the court to stop Catalonia’s political aspirations, as well as the prosecution of elected representatives, such as the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell,

He also lamented the “failure” of the so-called ‘Operation Dialogue’ with the Spanish Government. “The Spanish State should set out once and for all a project for Catalonia, in the case that it has one”, he said.

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