This afternoon the President of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, affirmed that if the Spanish Government does not allow the consultation to take place it is because “he is afraid of the answer”, however “what should be really feared is that in a democracy and with the rule of law, an answer to such a question is not possible”.
During the presentation of the White Paper on the National Transition of Catalonia, held this afternoon in the Palace of the Government of Catalonia, the President stressed that "the initiative to suspend the Catalan law and the decree calling for the Consultation is in the hands of the Spanish government, which it can either exercise or choose not to exercise”. The appeal, emphasized President Mas, demonstrates that “the Spanish government is seriously obstructing Catalan law, which was approved by the Parliament”. There is clearly a hostile government against what the majority of the people in Catalonia are doing” Mas affirmed.
The position taken by the Spanish institutions by not allowing the Catalan society to be consulted “diminishes democracy and the rule of law” assured the President who went on to reaffirm that the Government of Catalonia simply “wants know what the position in Catalonia is, and from there, be able to act accordingly”.
In reply to the words of the Prime Minister of the Spanish government, Artur Mas defended that “what we are doing is not illegal”, because it is in accordance with the law and allows the Generalitat to listen before it acts. “The [Spanish] Government has ruled this law and this decree as illegal and has left as such without further thought” announced Artur Mas, who also highlighted that the Consultation “is not a referendum in disguise” as the [Spanish] State says, but it is “a consultation under the law which was passed by a very wide majority in the Catalan Parliament”. “A referendum may or may not be” explained the President who insisted that this path had already been discarded after the negative refusal of the Spanish Congress which had previously transferred all competencies on calling for referendums.
In reference to Mariano Rajoy’s statement that a minority cannot decide for everyone, President Mas assured that what the Generalitat intends to do “is not simply consult an entity, but to consult a nation, in this case the Catalan nation which is of comprised of seven and a half million people”, reassuring the “it is evident that it must done be this way”. “It is untrue that we are deciding for everyone. We are saying that once the Catalan people have been heard, only then will the Government of Catalonia take the initiatives it must take” affirmed President Mas.
The Supersonic Speed of the Constitutional Court
The Chief Executive criticized the “supersonic” speed in which the Constitutional Court was called upon, joking that it would "have broken the sound barrier" in proceeding with the appeals made by the Spanish government against the law and the decree regarding consultations. “This has not happened in over thirty five years of the Constitution”, declared Mas.
Artur Mas also noted that the duty of calling for an urgent assembly of the Constitutional Court is under the responsibility of the president of the Constitutional Court, whom, the Chief Executive reminded, has been a member of the Popular Party (PP) for many years and whose “clear hostility” towards issues relating to Catalonia have led to the Parliament demanding a recusal. The President of Catalonia, however, manifested his “hopes” that the Constitutional Court be “the arbiter of everyone and not just of the one side” and when it is to read the Law on Consultation along with the decree calling for the Consultation “they must understand, and this has been proven, that we have put all our effort to remain within the constitutional and statutory legality”.
In this regard, President Mas made note that the Catalan Government has "demonstrated that it is prepared" adding that the proof of this being that within the three days after having passed the law "we approved the decree calling the Consultation on November 9th, explaining the entire process, which is perfectly designed and prepared, and today we are presenting the White Paper [on the National Transition of Catalonia]”.
A White Paper to inform the public
During the beginning of his speech, the President wanted to acknowledge and publicly express his gratitude to all the members of the Advisory Council on the National Transition (CATN) for making the White Paper possible. A compendium of reports which "provide information, opinion and shed light" on issues of the Catalan political process which may worry the public.
In this regard, the Head of the Catalan Government stressed that "in a state of full democratic convictions and consistency, we should really be having the debate concerning the White Paper", analyzing the arguments in favour or against the National Transition. This is the path, he stressed, taken by "countries with full, established and civilized democracies", as seen in Scotland or Quebec, where "national parliaments are listened to, are allowed to function, are protected and the legal paths are found so that the right to vote can be exercised”.
During his speech, the Chief Executive highlighted the fine work done by the members of the CATN. Mas thanked them for their "generosity" to work selflessly and for dedicating much of their time and also for having put their names on the line without fear. They have done so with a "high technical and professional quality" to their work and the fact that it has been done with an "intellectual honesty" and "discretion" by all the members in such a sensitive issue is commendable.
In turn, during the intervention by the Chairman of the Advisory Board on the National Transition, Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer expressed the "satisfaction" by the CATN for the Generalitat’s decision to prepare a White Paper on the National Transition of Catalonia because it "will contribute to the important task of giving the public the necessary information so they play their role with full knowledge on the right to decide the political future of Catalonia".
According to Viver, the reports analyze three main areas. First, regarding the consultation and the procedure that would lead to the creation of the new State. Within this process, the report identifies two stages: The first would begin with a formal declaration of Parliament in which the Government of Catalonia would assert its commitment to the mandate which would result from the outcome of the ballots and the second stage would begin with the declaration of independence. In the second area analyzed, the report identifies the necessary state structures to function as a nation state. Finally, the third section analyzes the relationship that the new state should have with the Spanish state, the European Union and the rest of the international community.
The CATN president explained that the reports which constitute the white paper "do not analyze the public policies which should be carried out once the new state is created" because these are "decisions to be taken by the political forces present in the Parliament and in the Government resulting from the elections which would be held immediately after the adoption of the new constitution". The President of the CATN reaffirmed that the process of building an own state "is perfectly feasible", but assured that to achieve it, "unity, generosity, some sacrifice and much political intelligence is needed, as well as constant and unflinching social mobilization working in harmony with the political forces that share this objective”.
Finally, Viver Pi-Sunyer thanked the “impartial” task of the Advisory Council as well as the involvement of experts who were consulted upon in carrying out “this collective assignment of providing Catalonia with state structures, which in my opinion and I believe I can speak for everyone in the Council, are, at this moment in time, not only necessary but absolutely essential”.