Not a step backwards with the referendum. Under this slogan and with the objective of dissipating the doubts of the last days over the commitment of the Government members with it, the premier, Carles Puigdemont, the vice-president Oriol Junqueras and all the ministers have signed this last Friday a manifesto in which they took the commitment to “organise, call for and celebrate” the referendum and implment its result.
It has been an act at the Orchard of Orange trees, in the Government seat, in which junior ministers and directors general of the Government and in which it has been made explicit and written down that the non-negotiable objective of this legislative period is to allow citizens to express at the ballot boxes whether they want Catalonia to become independent. The manifesto, read by the director of the Institution of Catalan Letters, Laura Borràs, reiterates the compromise of the executive with the celebration of a referendum as the “practical exercise of an inalienable right, that of self-determination”. It is a remarkably political text, yet without juridical consequences, in a try to strengthen the objective without giving ammunition to the Spanish attorneys.
After the signature of the Secretary of the Cabinet, the ministers, the vice-president and the premier, Puigdemont has closed the act highlighting that the executive strengthens its compromise with the referendum “in front of the threats and those who try to limit our self-government”. A referendum that, he has said, “is not not done by two or four hands, but rather many which organise, call for and celebrate it”.
Puigdemont has argued that the Catalan executive acts like a “vehicle” of a demand from the people, which is who, according to him, calls everyone to the ballot boxes to decide its future “equally to all democratic nations”.
Before him, Oriol Junqueras has taken the floor and has remarked that the compromise with “democracy, the ballot boxes and the referendum” is shared by all members of the Government and the Junts pel Sí coalition. Quoting the “love for liberty”, the vicepresident has claimed that from “individual but also collective” actions, Catalan society has been able to overcome “sticks in the wheels” and project itself towards the world “in most difficult situations”. Because of this, he has closed his discourse quoting the former Catalan premier Francesc Macià: “Catalans, everyone in his place and Catalonia in all of our hearts”.
From Philip V and the dictatorship to the Home Rule court sentence.
It has been a short but solemn act, in which the Catalan executive has tried to stage a gesture that closes for good the “noise” of last week. After the differences between the PdeCat and ERC came to light last week -who privately mistrust one another on their predisposition to go all the way with the referendum- the Government wants to project a clear image of unity around the great objective of the coming months: the celebration of the referendum.
The manifesto, elaborated during the whole week by Puigdemont’s and Junquera’s assisting teams, defend that “the history of the Catalan nation has been marked by the fight for freedom” in front of “the imposition of a legal framework that too many times has not listened to nor respected the popular will of Catalans”. Thus the text equally treats the Succession War and the posterior “Nueva Planta” (New Ordainment) decrees, the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship, the ruling against the Catalan Home Rule of 2010, and the rulings against Artur Mas, Irene Rigau, Francesc Homs and Joana Ortega, “most recent examples of this lack of democratic respect”.
The text also reminds that the Parliament has repeatedly positioned itself in favour of the right of self-determination of Catalans -it already did so in the 12th of September 1989-, and holds that the current Government is “the consequence, rather than the cause, of this majority will of the Catalan citizenship”.
A rather political manifesto with no juridical consequences in order for it not to become ammunition for the Spanish judiciary. Yet, the public attorneys have shown the last weeks that watching has been multiplied and that every step of the pro-sovereignty movement is monitored, and thus, inside the Government it is not ruled out that some action could be taken.
Source: Ara, 22nd of April 2017
Authors: Gerard Pruna / Aleix Moldes