24th April 2024
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Spanish government ‘absolutely rejects’ latest proposal for Catalan independence referendum

The Spanish government has been quick to reject a new proposal for a Catalan independence referendum put forward by the current Catalan president, Pere Aragonès of the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party.

The central government stated that they ‘absolutely rejected’ it and that the proposal simply amounted to political posturing ahead of the Catalan elections in May.

The format of a new independence referendum was proposed by Aragonès during a speech given on Tuesday in Barcelona, saying that it would be in agreement with the Spanish government and under Article 92 of the Spanish Constitution

His proposal was that it would take place in Catalonia only, with the following question put to the electorate – and which could only be answered with a Yes or No: ‘Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state?’ 

‘A vote is possible, it’s just a question of political will,’ said Aragonès. His proposal comes a few weeks after he called a snap Catalan election scheduled for 12 May. ALSO READ: Catalan president dissolves parliament and calls for early election on 12 May.  

Previously, he had proposed a Quebec-style ‘Clarity Act’, which would promote negotiations between the Spanish and the Catalan governments in order to organise a referendum. 

Aragonès said on Tuesday that a referendum could take place on the basis of Article 92 of the constitution, which allows ‘political decisions of particular importance’ to be put to a referendum. This would have to be called by King Felipe VI at the suggestion of the head of the Spanish government after approval by parliament.

However, the proposal was quickly rejected by the Spanish government during a press briefing following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting in Madrid.

Government spokesperson Pilar Alegría suggested Aragonès’ proposal amounted to political posturing ahead of parliamentary elections in Catalonia on 12 May.

‘The position that Aragonès conveyed is his position, but it is absolutely not the position of this government, let alone that of the majority of Catalan society,’ Alegría said. ‘Our position is clear and it is radically opposed [to a referendum].’

The Spanish government is in favour of ‘coexistence, rapprochement, and to keep moving forward’, she said, adding that it was a policy that has the support of ‘the majority of Catalan society’.

‘When there are elections so close, candidates launch their proposals,’ she said.  

Alegría also denied that the proposal could affect the central government, which is dependent on the ERC, among other parties, to pass legislation in the Spanish Congress. 

‘We are aware that the parliamentary majority involves dialogue with various parties,’ she said, and ‘we will continue constructive dialogue to apply laws and measures that improve people’s lives’.

The proposal was also immediately rejected by Presidential Minister Félix Bolaños, who said he was ‘absolutely against it’.

Aragonès remained defiant in the face of the Spanish government’s ‘no’ on the issue. 

‘It is the same government that said ‘no’ to the transfer of [commuter rail] Rodalies, to the transfer of the minimum basic income and to the transfer of the amnesty, and now they are a reality,’ he told ERC party members in a speech on Tuesday evening. ALSO READ: Controversial Amnesty Law passed in Congress, will now proceed to Senate.

Click here for all our reports related to Catalan independence.

ALSO READ: Puigdemont says he will return to Spain if he can be elected as Catalan president.

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