500,000 signatures in favor of coming to an agreement about a referendum on Catalonia’s independence
Barcelona (ACN).- The National Pact for a Referendum (PNR) has gathered 500,000 signatures from institutions, organizations, elected representatives, and private individuals, both within and outside of the country, in coming to agreement with the Spanish Government over holding a referendum on Catalonia’s independence. The PNR spokesman, Joan Ignasi Elena, described this “substantial” support as a “democratic revolution” which proves that also “those who want to vote ‘no’ to Catalonia’s independence” are urging the Spanish executive to negotiate and hold the vote. In this vein, he called for the Spanish government “to open a dialogue” because “being in denial doesn’t change the reality”; on the contrary, it puts them in a “ridiculous” position.
“We have this huge patrimony on our hands and it doesn’t belong to anybody but to all those who are here today, and to the whole of the Catalans. Let’s take care of it and let’s use this collective wish,” said Elena before the 3,000 people who attended the PNR event. Elena also praised the political centrality of those who support the referendum, which he described as a “demand from the majority”. “We are a nation because that’s what a vast majority of Catalans feel,” said Elena.
The campaign was launched at the end of February and received support from a wide range of political parties, civil society associations, cultural institutions, trade unions, business associations, and sports clubs. Indeed, one of the most recent to adhere was FC Barcelona.
Besides the Catalan President and the whole of the Catalan executive, many political leaders from within and outside Catalonia have joined the cause. The co-president of the Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA), Ska Keller was amongst them, together with Spanish alternative left ‘Podemos’ Secretary General, Pablo Iglesias, or Barcelona Mayor, Ada Colau, to name a few.
The National Pact for a Referendum was officially created on December 23rd, on the basis of a proposal made by the Parliament and with the support of the Catalan Government. Itbrings together more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organizations, besides those political parties which support Catalonia’s right to decide; that is to say governing coalition Junts Pel Sí, left wing pro-independence ERC, radical left CUP, the Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT (former liberal CDC), Demòcrates de Catalunya, alternative left alliance Catalunya Sí Que es Pot and, left party MES, launched by Catalan ERC MEP Ernest Maragall.
With its wide political representation, one of the main characteristic elements of the National Pact for a Referendum is its cross-party nature. The main pro-independence associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), which were responsible for the last massive pro-independence mobilizations on Catalonia’s National Day, are among the founders. Other associations which are present include “Súmate’, an organization mostly formed of people of Spanish origin living in Catalonia who support independence from Spain, the NGO ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’, which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, and organizations, such as retirement homes, psychiatric hospitals, children-in-need centers, and social dining rooms grouped in the ‘Taula del Tercer Sector’. The main trade unions, the Workers Commissions trade union (CCOO) and the General Workers Union (UGT) are also represented, together with employers’ association ‘Foment del Treball’.