Catalonia to declare independence if Spain blocks the referendum, warns Catalan VP
Barcelona (CNA).- If the Spanish State blocks the referendum that the Government plans to call in September, Catalonia will unilaterally declare independence. This is what Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, assured this Tuesday in a conference with economist and Columbia University professor, Xavier Sala i Martin. Junqueras explained that this option, which is technically called “the unblocking clause” already forms part of the electoral program of governing coalition Junts Pel Sí. Junqueras insisted that calling a referendum on Catalonia’s independence is one of the Government’s main commitments and thus they will respect it. The Catalan VP said that the referendum will not only be called but celebrated, dismissing other parties’ statements that insinuated that it would be impossible for the referendum to be held. Moreover, he said he is convinced that the pro-independence option will win.
The option of unilaterally declaring independence if the referendum is not allowed “is officially stated in the electoral program, which is public, and has been explained openly, and represented graphically,” said Junqueras.
During the conference ‘Moment Zero’, in which Junqueras participated together with Columbia University professor Xavier Sala i Martin, the latter declared that if the Spanish State blocks the referendum “using the police or by whatever means,” Catalonia will have “the right” to act unilaterally and declare independence on the following day, according to the electoral mandate emerged from the 27-S elections, which led to a pro-independence majority in the Parliament. Junqueras agreed, explaining that this was indeed part of Junts Pel Sí's official electoral program. “We are in favor of honoring our commitments,” continued Junqueras.
Nevertheless, Junqueras insisted on the referendum as the first priority. “We are convinced that we will vote, that we will win, and that the Spanish State will try to reach an agreement since it is in its own interest to negotiate,” he said, adding that “holding and winning the referendum will be our strongest leverage for all the negotiations that follow.”
ANC doesn’t dismiss unilateral declaration of independence
The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grassroots association responsible for the main pro-independence mobilizations in Catalonia over the last five years, said it was unlikely that independence would be declared unilaterally without calling a referendum. However, if the Spanish State blocks the vote “through force” this scenario can’t be dismissed. “Our commitment is to prepare, call, and carry out a referendum but it's possible that the Spanish State might try to stop the aspirations of the majority of Catalans,” said ANC’s president, Jordi Sànchez. He said that Junqueras’ statement in this regard “makes perfect sense”. He announced that this possibility will be debated in ANC’s next general assembly, to take place on the 29th of April.
Sànchez insisted on the ANC’s commitment to the pro-independence roadmap and called for those who are in favor of independence to come together and reinforce those common points rather than focusing on petty rivalries which promote division.
Junqueras’ intentions are ridiculous, according to Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis, briefly commented on Junqueras’ statements this Wednesday, before attending an event in Barcelona. "I don't see Mr. Junqueras unilaterally declaring Catalonia's independence. That’s ridiculous," he said.