This morning, President Artur Mas affirmed that “the Government of Catalonia is resolute on going forward and will carry out the Consultation on November 9th”. During a press conference which took place in the Palau of the Generalitat, Mas explained that this meant that “there will be open polling stations with ballots and ballot boxes”.
After the final meeting which took place between the Government and the political parties supporting the Consultation, the President emphasized that the attitude of the Government was not “one of withdrawal” nor was it one “of taking a step back”. “The Government of Catalonia feels sufficiently strong and is, above all, committed in carrying out what it said it would do, which is to consult the people of Catalonia” announced Mas while reassuring how his “commitment is left intact”.
Due to the Constitutional Court not lifting the temporary suspension of the decree calling for consultations, signed by the President on September 30th, Artur Mas explained that the consultation would not take place in accordance with the mentioned decree, and instead “the government will remain within the pre-existing legal frameworks which allow for competency in matters of citizen participation”.
“Because of these established frameworks and their complete validity, we are able to carry out this course of action and we will call upon the people to vote on the ninth of November” declared the President.
The entire logistical procedure in effect
With these instruments, “the Government will prepare the entire logistical procedure in order to allow citizens to vote on November 9th” assured the President, explaining that more than 20,000 volunteers will be engaged as polling personnel to assist polling stations in carrying out the voting procedure. Mas also asked for “active collaboration, not just from entities representing associations, but also from the 920 town and city councils out of the 947 supporting the right to a consultation”.
A General Council on Participation will also be created as a supervisory body to ensure the complete transparency of the process. Consequently, “participant recount and the provisional results will be announced on November 10th”.
“The current population called upon to vote will, in any case, be the same body of voters as was called before” insisted the President, assuring that those over the age of 16 will be eligible to cast their vote as was established initially and even “some factions of the general public, whom with the suspended decree could not participate, will now be able to partake in the vote”.
Addressing himself to all Catalans, the President concluded his speech by asking the people of Catalonia to participate massively in the consultation: “Now we need as many people as ever before”. “The Government’s commitment to continue on forward can only be maintained as long as there are many people willing to vote on November 9th. This is appeal I would also like to make. The success of this democratic process, of the right to decide on Catalonia’s political future, of the National Transition and of Catalonia’s sovereignty will result only with this nation’s highest participation” highlighted the Head of the Catalan government.
A giant step towards the ultimate consultation
In this regard, the President reassured that “what is key is that the people of this country understand that this is an opportunity to take a giant step towards the ultimate consultation” highlighting that both, the current consultation scheduled for November 9th and the one which would have been carried out through the executive decree signed on September 30th, are not “decisive consultations”. “The ultimate consultation, with total and full guarantees, can only be carried out through elections which the political parties, not the government, can then turn into a de facto referendum” insisted the President.
In this sense, Artur Mas made reference to the fact that “we still have a very useful tool, one Madrid fears the most” which is an “ordinary election called by the president of the Government of Catalonia, where the parties can decide on a joint candidacy and a joint programme”. “If the candidature and programme obtain an absolute majority, the referendum would be deemed a success” continued the Head of Government, adding that this would be “viewed correctly by the international community and would be final instrument for the ultimate consultation”.
For all of these reasons, the President addressed the political powers supporting the consultation and emphasized that he is at the complete disposal “of the parties who want to make an approach of these characteristics and want to act accordingly”, adding that, even with “splintered” consensus, “I know perfectly well that the true adversary is the Spanish State” “I will not confuse my adversaries and I know the Spanish State is trying everything it can to deny us the possibility of consulting our own political future” revealed the President.
The President also made it clear that both, he and the Government of Catalonia have always, given “great value” to the political consensus, which is why “we must defend it by all means possible”, aware of this importance, he categorized it as “the weakest link in the chain”. In spite of this, the Chief Executive assured that because of developments in the recent days “this link has been taken out of its place” but stressed that “it is not broken” and that “it depends on the parties to put it back in place”. Mas specified that “this is not the responsibility of the Government […] but depends on the will of each one [of the parties]” and added that “as always, we will do everything we can do to make sure this consensus is maintained as much as is possible”