This morning, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked Catalans not to be afraid as the 9-N approaches, because “we are doing what we should be doing and we are undertaking it in the legitimate defence, not of a political party, nor of a government, but of an entire nation independent of its ideology”. “We are fighting and defending ourselves, not only for the right to decide, but for basic fundamental rights such as the freedom of speech or the right of the entire Spanish nation to participate” declared the President.
In this regard, the head of the Catalan Executive sent a message of composure, serenity and of “de-dramatization” in the current times. “Now, more than ever, calmness and serenity” stressed the President, because “the gravest mistake Catalonia could make this week is to loose its composure, its serenity and the way we way have always done things, which is part our great collective heritage”. “This week we can also conquer the spirit of many Spaniards if they see us firm in the exercise of our fundamental rights, which are also theirs” added the President.
The Head of the Catalan Government made these evaluations during his intervention at the Fòrum Tribuna Catalaunya, an event organized by Nueva Economía which took place this morning at the Hotel Princesa Sofía in front more than 500 attendees.
During his speech, the President made a brief review of the precursors which brought about the participative process and stated that it is based on the protection of the right to decide, which is “not a formal, nor a constitutional right, but the natural right of any nation”. The protection of this right, Mas explained, has three objectives: to develop our own national and societal project; make Catalonia an even better country, “which does not mean better than others, but better in itself”, and defend “the dignity of a country which has resisted throughout the centuries, and it will not be humiliated”.
In this sense, Artur Mas made it clear that these objectives are being fulfilled with “ample majorities, exemplary civility, democratic pulchritude and legal respect”. Mas also noted that there is a “political majority which resulted from the 2012 elections” and an “unprecedented social majority” in favour of the right to decide. He then reminded those attending the event that, until now, the process has been carried out “without an incident or even an insult” and asked that “if we have been able to this way thus far, throughout two years, it is even more important to do so in the week ahead”.
The President also defended the democratic pulchritude in the way the process was being carried out and made reference to the unsuccessful attempts by the Catalan Government to negotiate with the Spanish Executive. Mas also highlighted the respect for the laws which has been maintained by his Administration. Furthermore, Mas made reference to the suspension of the Decree calling for consultations and noted that “the [Catalan] Government understood that the Decree could not be maintained if a vote were to take place and it identified another means to fulfil the popular mandate in the form of a participative process”. Mas insisted that the “Decree is not being applied here” as there is no written norm, nor a census, there are not even civil servants intervening in the process, instead, there are only volunteers. “It is not a covert referendum, but a procedure to find out the citizen’s opinion on the country’s political future” added the President.
In light of this conduct, the President assured that “in Madrid we have only found a great deal of ignorance and lack of knowledge of what is happening in Catalonia, underestimation and intolerance, and even an episode of the foul play”, stressing that “there is, above all, a vast political incapacity, because with such a significant matter concerning the State, as is the case with the issue of Catalonia, there is not one single initiative on their behalf”.
Mas described the situation as a contrast of two separate mentalities: on the one hand the Catalan mentality, an approach more pertinent to the 21st century and, on the other, the mentality the State which is more pertinent to the settings of the 20th or 19th century. “The State defends itself through an approach, whereas Catalonia defends itself with its own people” underlined the President, adding that “the great political projects stem from society and cannot be solely led by the elites; herein lies the mentality of the 21st century, with the close relationship between institutions and society”.
“Absolutely resolute and determined to carry out the process”
In the course of the event, the President affirmed that the Catalan Government “is absolutely determined and resolute to carry out the process, in everything that depends on us. Everything is ready”. “What will we find between now and Sunday? I don’t know. But in what depends on us, [the participatory] process will go ahead, and this is a lot”.
In this respect, and addressing the Spanish public opinion, the President made reference to the fact that “we are not going against anyone, we are trying to outline a project of our own, and whatever happens, the notion of conviviality between the Spanish and European nations will be just as important as this project itself”. Nevertheless, president Mas asked the citizens of the Spanish State to “to reflect on Spain’s democratic quality”.
Letter to president Rajoy
When asked about who would take the first step after November 9th, Artur Mas extended his hand once again to dialogue and explained that how he would send a letter to president Rajoy “to assess the results of the 9-N and offer, once more, our disposition to talk, converse and negotiate, just like anybody else who willing to find solutions that would benefit everyone”.
“I will remind him that, aside from the 23 points which I presented to him in July, the issue of Catalonia ability to hold its own definitive referendum is still pending and, if possible, may it be agreed with him, just like in Britain or Canada”, declared the President.