Thursday, 15 December 2016

Puigdemont: “We will vote, debate and hold meetings”

CNA

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has responded to the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspension of the Parliament’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia. "Catalans have the right to vote, debate and hold meetings, therefore, we will vote, debate and hold meetings”, he stated this Thursday and insisted that the Government will simply apply “democracy”. However, Puigdemont wanted to make clear his disconformity with the TC decisions, which he felt “confirmed” the existence of “constitutional populism” in Spain which claims that “Catalans are not allowed to vote”. Puigdemont also expressed his support and that of the whole executive for the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who will have to testify before the Court on Friday for allegedly violating the Spanish Constitution by allowing Catalan MPs to debate the merits of the pro-independence roadmap. 

The TC suspension of the Parliament’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia in September next year has outraged many sectors of Catalan political and civil society. However, and considering the latest episodes and reactions of the Spanish judicial system to Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations, many admitted to expecting such actions. This is the case for Puigdemont, who admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the suspension. Nevertheless, he warned that “Catalonia’s roadmap” towards independence “remains unchanged”.

According to Puigdemont, the latest decision of the TC “confirmed that there is a kind of constitutional populism” in Spain which bases its claims on saying that “Catalans are not allowed to vote and that if they do so it is not valid, as happened with Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy in 2010 and with the democratic mandate that emerged from the 27-S Catalan elections in 2015”.

Moreover, considering that Forcadell will have to testify before the Court on Friday and that the summit to organise the pro-independence referendum, due to convene on the 23rd of December, has also been regarded with suspicion, Puigdemont noted that the Spanish Government believes that “Catalans don’t have the right to debate, nor to hold meetings either”. “This is populism and we respond to that with democracy”, added the Catalan President.

In this vein, Puigdemont insisted that the summit to organise the referendum will continue as scheduled.

“Full support” for Forcadell

“This is not a trial against a person, it is a trial against an institution which represents the will of the Catalan people”, stated Puigdemont. Thus, he expressed his “full support” for Forcadell, who will appear before Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) for allegedly violating the Spanish Constitution by allowing Catalan MPs to debate the merits of the pro-independence roadmap. According to Puigdemont, Forcadell’s prosecution is similar to that suffered by former Catalan President, Artur Mas, and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau, Francesc Homs and Joana Ortega for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014.  

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  • Close-up of the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)