Catalonia vows to forge ahead with independence vote

Catalonia vows to forge ahead with independence vote

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 1:36 pm

Catalonia’s president Artur Mas vowed Tuesday to press ahead with a vote on independence for the region on November 9, but under a different legal framework after Spanish authorities challenged the plan in the courts.

Catalan leaders agreed Monday that the non-binding vote they had called in the wake of Scotland’s independence referendum could not go ahead in its current form.

Artur Mas delivers a speech in parliament

Artur Mas delivers a speech in parliament

The announcement, which exposed cracks within the pro-independence movement, was hailed as “excellent news” by Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is fiercely opposed to a ballot on Catalonia breaking away from Spain.

But on Tuesday Mas vowed Catalonia will “go ahead” with a vote on November 9 under a different legal framework, to get around a ruling by Spain’s Constitutional Court which suspended an earlier electoral decree.

“We will call the people to vote on November 9,” Mas said. “There will be polling stations open, there will be ballot boxes, there will be voting papers.”

But he added: “We will have to do it in a different form from what we had planned.”

Mas admitted that divisions had opened up in the pro-independence movement, but insisted “the real adversary is still the Spanish state,” which is fighting to block the vote.

Mas accepted that his earlier electoral decree was no longer valid since it was suspended automatically when the Constitutional Court agreed to consider an appeal by the national government.

But he said an alternative form of vote could be held under “pre-existing legal frameworks” in Catalonia which allow for “citizen participation”.

During a meeting of pro-referendum parties on Monday, the Catalan government “determined that the vote can’t take place,” Joan Herrera, a leader of the small leftist Initiative for Catalonia Greens party, told reporters.

That meeting appeared to have brought to a head a rift between Mas, a moderate conservative nationalist, and the left-wing parties with whom he has joined forces in the regional parliament.

Mas said the issue might have to be settled by regional elections and that a vote on November 9 could be just one step towards that.

“Since the consensus is now broken… that is the definitive means to hold a consultation vote,” he said.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.