Monday, September 22, 2014

Barcelona and 700 other municipalities approve motions supporting 9 November's independence vote

The City Council of Barcelona as well as 300 other town halls throughout Catalonia approved on Monday the same motion supporting the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled on the 9th of November. Some 400 other municipalities have confirmed they will do the same in the current week and more could join in the coming days. In total, some 700 municipalities will approve the same motion, whose text has been proposed by the Association of pro-Independence Municipalities (AMI) and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM). 
With this action, Catalan municipalities want to back the parliamentary agreement to carry out such a vote, which is being unilaterally blocked by the Spanish Government. The motions will be sent to the Catalan Government, the Spanish Authorities, the European Union institutions and the United Nations. Some of the towns and cities that will join the initiative are Girona, Reus, Tortosa, Vic, Manresa, Figueres, La Seu d'Urgell, Cervera, Balaguer and Sant Vicens dels Horts, among many others. Furthermore, Lleida's Provincial Council also backed the motion, being the first of the 4 Provincial Councils in Catalonia to do so. On top of this, towns halls that will not join this initiative could approve their own motions backing a "legal" consultation vote on Catalonia's self-determination. Of the 947 municipalities existing in Catalonia, more than 900 could approve some sort of text supporting Catalonia's right to self-determination and the organisation of a consultation vote to decide on the collective future of Catalan citizens. 
The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which backs self-determination but whose leadership opposes November's vote, is divided on this initiative and will vote different things in different town halls, showing that many PSC representatives do back the proposed self-determination vote.


Barcelona's Town Hall backs the 9th of November self-determination vote
Barcelona City Council has carried out an extraordinary plenary session this Monday morning in order to explicitly back November's consultation vote on independence. The Catalan capital's Town Hall has approved a motion supporting the call of such a vote "in order to freely decide Catalonia's future". The text has been approved with 21 "yes" votes and 12 "no" votes. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU – which runs the municipal government, the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalitions ICV-EUiA and the pro-independence coalition UxB – which includes the left-wing independence party ERC – have backed the motion. Many representatives from the PSC – which is the second largest group – were absent in protest because the other groups rejected amendments they presented in favour of a federal Spain, granting greater powers to Catalonia. 3 PSC representatives voted against the motion, as well as the 9 councillors of the conservative People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government. The PP requested a nominal vote, by open ballot, where each councillor has to publicly reveal their vote.

700 municipalities will join the initiative this week

It is expected that some 700 municipalities throughout Catalonia will approve the same motion through ordinary and extraordinary plenary sessions. All of them will be approving the same text proposed by the Association of pro-Independence Municipalities (AMI) – an organisation grouping together local governments and created in December 2011 to support Catalonia's independence process - and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) – an association representing the interests of local governments. The motions will be handed in to the Catalan President, Artur Mas, in a meeting foreseen for the 4th of October. Then, they will be delivered to the Spanish Government, the EU institutions and the United Nations.

The text emphasises that the vote scheduled for the 9th of November has been organised "within the legal framework of the Law on citizen consultation votes". It also stresses that such a political initiative "answers to the will of the majority of the Catalan people and their representatives". For this reason, the municipalities approving the motion, such as the city of Barcelona, "will provide all the necessary resources and tools to make it possible". On top of this, the town halls asked the citizens to participate in it.

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