Catalonia votes its future
DIPLOCAT – The parliamentary elections on Sunday are the substitute of the independence referendum that Madrid has not allowed
Catalonia will vote for independence or the status quo in regional elections on 27 September. The plebiscitary function of this election can be seen in the unitary list with representatives from political parties and civil society, who aim to lay out a roadmap for a new state. Catalonia needs to know whether there is a mandate to create the conditions for an independent Catalonia. The election on 27 September is the only legal and democratic way to do so, as a proper referendum like the one that was granted to Scotland was never granted in Catalonia.
So far, there is already a clear political mandate given by the Catalan people. July 2010 saw massive demonstrations in reaction to the biggest setback so far to our granted self-rule. That month, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, which had already been approved by the Catalan and Spanish Parliaments, was severely mutilated by the Spanish Constitutional Court. At the 11 September Catalan National Day demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014, the number of peaceful protesters had risen to 1.5 – 2 million each year. A demonstration of the same magnitude took place last 11 September in Barcelona. In 2013, 80% of the Parliament of Catalonia voted in favour of an official consultation on the will of the Catalan citizens regarding their political future. Madrid refused.
The Catalan people would not manifest their will for change so strongly if it was not for reasonable and clear reasons. We are referring to an unregulated power of the central government to impede any reform towards a more transparent and accountable, democratic system with shared powers and checks and balances, reforms which could be an efficient motor out of the economic crisis. We are also referring to growing restrictions for our culture and language, imposed by its own state in its efforts to cut multiculturalism. A state, which should represent all its citizens, fails to do so.
We see our future as a net contributor to the EU assured by being a good neighbour, in a better position to help when our own voice has influence. By embracing the logic of peaceful changes of frontiers in Europe, where Czechoslovakia consensually decided to split and Germany to reunite. If our citizens decide on 27 September to leave Spain for a well-defined project of governance, we will responsibly transform our relation. In negotiations with the Spanish government and the EU we will take the best path to detach one system from the other while strengthening our ties with the UE. We could be at a historic moment of solving what for a very long time had seemed unsolvable, as responsible Europeans who esteem the values of peace and democracy above all.