April the 25th, independence becomes central to the political debate

25A the next round of referendums

A new round of referendums, after rounds of 13S, 13D and 28F the process has taken shape and is unstopabble. Next April the 25th 200 towns and villages will be involved and more than 1 million Catalan citizens will have the right to vote. By the end of this round around half the municipalities in Catalonia will have organized a referendum. After this the aim is to organise one in Barcelona.

Big cities like Girona, Lleida or Manresa are being involved this time and with supporters like Justo Molinero, a popular radio presenter with a huge influence on the Spanish speaking areas in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, like Cornellà, who will campaign for the right of the Catalans to decide (link in Catalan). Former Catalan President Jordi Pujol recently declared that he can’t be against the independence referendums since the pact with Spain has failed, and the debate for independence has to normalise. These declarations are a huge step forward since Jordi Pujol, who was in power for more than 20 years with CiU never before has openly declared himself to be pro-independence.

Turnout might be influenced by a filtration that the Spanish Constitutional Court will finally give a sentence regarding the Catalan Statute (the law that regulates Catalan self-government) this week (link in Catalan). It has taken so far 4 years for the Spanish Constitutional Court to come up with a sentence. No person or court has the moral right to contradict what the citizens have approved in a referendum, this is the foundational principle of democracy and in Spain this is not being respected since the Catalan Statute was voted by the Catalans. The sentence will very likely be very restrictive and rewrite several of the articles. The filtration also illustrates how little independence there is in the Spanish legal system.

The referendums are difficult to ignore and they put pressure on the political parties to position themselves with respect to independence now that the elections are coming next autumn. José Montilla said that he doesn’t want Catalonia to be independent (link in Catalan). He didn’t support this statement with any arguments. Artur Mas, the leader of CiU, the main opposition party and historically the biggest catalanist party, has recently declared that now’s not the time for a referendum (link in Catalan). He claims that the issue divides Catalan society. Maybe he should pay more attention to what Pujol is saying?

Obviously, Montilla’s opinion is not surprising since he is a Spanish unionist (even thought he disguises himself as a catalanist) but it is intriguing that CiU believe that in order to get back in the power they must be as undefined as possible with regards to Catalonia’s sovereignty.

Mas has illustrated this a few times, he declared months ago that in a referendum of independence he’d vote “yes” but shortly after said that “now’s not the time” to organize one. The problem is that he’s never said when would be, in his opinion, a good time for that.

At least it seems that for a significant part of the Catalan society now is indeed as good a time as any other. To contradict Mas’ statements there are several polls and the independence referendums themselves that show that even in traditionally Spanish-speaking areas what actually unites Catalan society is, after all, the conviction that Catalonia needs to become a State in the EU as soon as possible.

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