Thursday, 11 May 2017

Catalan Government will ask for international support if the referendum result is ‘Yes’


Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, said that the Government will ask for the international community’s support in order to implement the referendum result if the people vote ‘yes’ to Catalonia’s independence. In particular, he emphasized the need to get the EU’s attention and pointed out that if Catalonia’s moves towards independence, Europe will stop being Spain’s “errand boy”. Puigdemont admitted that no international recognition has been requested so far. Instead, the Government has just organized a campaign to explain the Catalans’ demands to the world. The Catalan President insisted that the ballot boxes will be put out in September and added that the only way for the Spanish Government to prevent the referendum from happening is “by opening a dialogue and agreeing on an alternative date”. 

Puigdemont made these statements at a lunch organized this Thursday by Sobirania i Justícia (‘Sovereigniy and Justice’), an association which promotes Catalonia’s independence.  The Catalan President insisted on the Government’s commitment to hold the referendum and promised that “the date and the question” will be announced “before the summer holidays”. “They don’t have enough power to stop so much democracy,” he said, referring to the Spanish Government and added that the only way for Rajoy's executive to keep a referendum from being held in September is by proposing an alternative date.

Although he referred to the Government’s willingness to negotiate and reach an agreement with the Spanish State regarding the referendum, he emphasized that the ballot boxes will indeed be put out. In this vein, he pointed out the importance of the vote’s turnout for the referendum to be valid. According to Puigdemont, if there was a negotiated referendum but a participation rate of only 15%, “it wouldn’t be valid” since it wouldn’t have represented “the citizens’ wishes”. However, a referendum with a substantial turnout would have to be considered, even if that referendum was held without the permission of the Spanish State.

The Catalan President lamented that the Spanish State “had taken itself out of the equation” and made itself “part of the problem” instead. In this vein, he insisted that the Catalan Government will make “one last attempt” to reach an agreement with Madrid by formally requesting dialogue and flexible negotiations. 

Margallo’s proposal “outrages democrats”

Puigdemont also referred to José Manuel García Margallo, the former Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs who admitted having suggested to the Spanish executive that they destroy the ballot boxes in order to stop the 9-N symbolic referendum in 2014. “Such words explain a truth which outrages us as democrats and offends us as a people,” he said, adding that these statements prove “what sort of political culture” Margallo is made of.

  • Puigdemont

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