Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Catalans just want to vote—and be free

We must understand president Mas’ announcement to hold a souped-down referendum on November 9th, this time based on a law other than the law of popular non-binding referenda (recently overturned by the Spanish government through its Constitutional Court) as being totally in line with his long-term commitment and with the various resolutions approved by the Government of Catalonia, all of them backed by all the pro-referendum parties, in order to let the people vote.

On November 9th, we are being asked to vote for dignity and in order to let the international community see that Spain is unwilling to give in an inch. Spain is terrified of asking what a significant portion of its own population thinks about this very sensitive topic. Spain is acting in an authoritarian and anti-democratic way. In the end, the referendum might not be a formally valid one, as the president himself admitted, but it will be good enough to find out whether the Catalan people are determined to go ahead with the independence process. It will also give us the moral strength to go ahead with the final step, plebiscitary elections.

We must understand that we can only break with the existing legality once, and that when we do so, it needs to be final. The power of plebiscitary elections lies in the fact that they can be held within the current Spanish legal framework—and they would have the same validity as a referendum. Once we get to that point, if the combined pro-independence forces obtain a clear majority, it will be the right time for the Parliament of Catalonia to declare independence unilaterally.

During the last few Catalan National Day celebrations, the people have demanded that they be allowed to vote, and that the parties unite. Now it is up to the parties to heed the people’s demands. Let us abandon partisan, low-level politics, let us be up to the historical challenges we are facing, and let us abide by the demand for unity emanating from the people. If we can stop the independence process from dying of internal bleeding, due to lack of unity and consensus among pro-independence parties, make no mistake—we shall vote!



Salvador Grifell
@s_grifell
Political Scientist



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