Barcelona (ACN).- A wide majority of the Catalan Parliament has approved a resolution asking for a self-determination citizen vote to be organised “first and foremost” in the next term. On Thursday two thirds of the Catalan MPs backed the decision, which was initially agreed on by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government – and the Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC). The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), the radical independence party ‘Solidaritat’ (SI), one independent MP and a veteran MP from the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) have also voted for organising the citizen vote on Catalonia’s self-determination within the next four years. The rest of the PSC, which is federated with the Spanish Socialists (PSOE), has abstained. Only 15% of the MPs opposed the decision, all from Spanish nationalist parties. The MPs from the People’s Party (PP) and the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party ‘Ciutadans’ (C’s) have voted against the decision. The same day, the Spanish Government stated that if a self-determination vote is organised, it will automatically block the vote by bringing it to the Constitutional Court.
The same afternoon that two thirds of the Catalan Parliament, from 6 different political groups, were approving a resolution asking for the organisation of a citizen vote on Catalonia’s self-determination in the next parliamentary term, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, reaffirmed that the Spanish Government will use “all the legal means” against any “unconstitutional” consultation. Sáenz de Santamaría stated that the Spanish Government will automatically block a self-determination vote in Catalonia by bringing it to the Constitutional Court. She remarked that the Spanish Government has to authorise any referendum in Spain, and therefore a non-authorised referendum is “illegal” and “goes against the Constitution”. She also insisted that if a referendum were to be held, all the Spanish citizens should vote. The day before, on Wednesday, Sáenz de Santamaría had already said that the Spanish Government will “calmly but firmly” oppose Catalonia’s independence.
In the Catalan Parliament, while debating the resolution, the CiU stated that “there is nothing more democratic than consulting the citizenry”. The CiU insisted that, after the 25th November elections, a new period will begin, which will have to be faced with “realism, hope, good sense, responsibility and democratic sense”.
The PSC, which internally discussed its final vote on the consultation asking for a self-determination consultation for 3 hours prior to the debate, stated that they want the Constitution to be changed in order to organise a “legal referendum” in Catalonia. The PSC insisted on the legal aspect, since “citizens not only have to have their say, but they have also to decide” within the legal framework. Therefore they abstained and presented their own resolution asking for a legal referendum on Catalonia’s self-determination, to be held after a reform of the Spanish Constitution.
The PP stated that now, in the Catalan Parliament, the Constitution “can be modified”, but it has to be done with a consensus. They emphasised that organising a self-determination referendum is “throwing away the heritage of our parents”, referring to the Spanish Constitution. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their opposition to the independence process.
The ICV-EUiA underlined that the self-determination right of the Catalan people is a “meeting point” of many political parties with very diverse ideologies. ICV-EUiA strongly defends the democratic right of Catalan citizens to freely decide on their own future, although they do not openly defend independence from Spain. However, they defend the right of Catalonia to be considered a nation, as the expression of the feelings of a large part of the Catalan people.
The ERC insisted that the citizen consultation “should be held within the next parliamentary term”. ERC, which pushed for the resolution together with CiU, stated their satisfaction to witness how “two thirds of the Parliament engaged themselves with the exercise of the right to self-determination”.
The C’s said that the resolution and the independence vote was a “smoke screen” used by the Catalan Government to hide its failure. The SI have given their support to the self-determination vote despite the fact that they would have liked a fixed date for it, preferably on Catalonia’s National Day (11th September) in 2014.
The approval of this resolution ends the three-day-long main annual debate of the Catalan Parliament, called the Debate on General Policy. In the first day of the Debate, reserved for the speech of the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas called for earlier elections, to be held on 25th November. These elections are likely to become a plebiscite on Catalonia’s right to self-determination, which totally opposes the Spanish Government and Spanish nationalism.