On Friday, the president of the Catalan Government affirmed his will to go forward in the participative process of November 9th, which is “fully underway” and announced that he has instructed the Government’s legal team “to review legal action against the Central State’s abuse of power and to protect the competencies of the Catalan Government in matters of civilian participation”.
In an informative press conference at the Palau of the Generalitat, President Mas pointed out that in fifteen days the Spanish Executive has gone from “mocking, ridiculing and laughing” at the participative process to appealing to the Constitutional Court once again. Mas maintained that the State “is abusing its power and its rights” and accused it of using the Constitutional Court “in an improper, lewd and clumsy way, giving it a role that does not belong to it”. This demonstrates “the incapacity manifested by the Spanish Government to tackle the political problem in Catalonia in a strictly political manner” added the President.
In this sense, Artur Mas highlighted that Central Government “pretends to stop the unstoppable, because they’re saying that we’re doing something that we are, in fact, not doing”. The President noted that “we are not applying the decree that was suspended by the Constitutional Court”, and instead there will be a process of participation to find out the opinion of the Catalan nation concerning the political future of the country and this is backed by the competencies of the Government of Catalonia in matters of civilian participation.
The President also condemned the “hypocrisy” of the Central Government’s criticism regarding the lack of guarantees in the process, because “it is they who are doing everything in their power to make sure the 9-N has the fewest possible guarantees by presenting all these appeals to the Constitutional Court”. “It is like he who breaks legs and then tells his victims they are limp” asserted Artur Mas to make a graphic illustration regarding the State’s actions.
Completing the 9-N operation
The Chief Executive also announced two other decisions aside from reviewing legal action. The first is to complete the 9-N operation regarding the process of public participation on November 9th, which is “practically complete”. “We are logistically and organizationally prepared and now we must simply refine a few minor details” explained president Mas.
In this regard, the President made reference to the recommendation made to the more than 40,000 volunteers which have registered for the process, highlighting the voluntary nature of those participating in it and where “no one is forcing anybody”. This vast number of volunteers “must be positive for a country, perhaps it unnerves or worries some, but it is a reality” declared the President.
The third decision announced by the Catalan Head of State, was to reserve the option in the upcoming week to call for an urgent National Alliance on the Right to Decide (PNDD – Pacte Nacional pel Dret a Decidir) meeting. Mas explained that he had spoken with the PNDD coordinator, Joan Rigol, in case “the eventuality occurs where the 9-N process would need to be backed in the most consensual possible manner”.
In addition to theses three decisions, the President announced that “depending on the development of events, there may be more decisions that may be taken in the upcoming days”.
A call to give a grand lesson in democracy
During the press conference the President also called upon all Catalans so that on November 9th “through participating in the process, the nation of Catalonia gives a grand lesson in democracy and civility”.
In this sense, the President emphasized that “anyone who is attacked in the way in which we are being attacked, has a legitimate right to defend themselves”, adding that the Catalan nation “has the right to defend itself in light of the attacks it has been suffering”. Artur Mas reasserted that “we have left it very clear that we will not apply the decree and that there is no right to impede opinions to be expressed in the way in which we are trying to express them”.
The Head of Catalan Executive also accused the State of wanting to “create confusion and fear” and to “discredit the Catalan political process at an international level” but added that “they will no succeed” in doing so.
To slander and defame is the proof of country with inferior democratic quality
Regarding the document issued by UBS denying reports that the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, has had bank accounts in Switzerland, thereby refuting a publication by a Spanish based newspaper, the President assured that this was “proof of a country with inferior democratic quality, that is, if a country is capable of this type of slander and defamation”. Mas confessed that he was “not surprised, because I have also experienced this treatment”, adding that “Xavier Trias reacted as he was meant to, by filing a lawsuit, as I did, and making it very clear that this theoretical information is pure intoxication”.
In this respect, president Artur Mas expressed his suspicion that the Spanish Government’s decision to finally to take action against the participative process could be linked to the outbreak of the Punic Operation, an alleged corruption scheme at both municipal and autonomic levels affecting various offices held mainly by the People’s Party (PP). “I don’t know if it’s entirely unusual that the Central Government would speak out about the Catalan issue now, with everything that has been going on in Madrid in the last fifteen days. I don’t know if this is simply by chance” affirmed the President.
In spite of this, the President gave other explanations to the State’s response, stating that it may be due to the renewed consensus or the likelihood of a significant participation within Catalonia on November 9th which could have upset the Central Government. Either way, the message laid out by the President was a clear one: “things are better when there is consensus, and we are all responsible to achieve it”.