Today, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, affirmed that “it is time for high politics and not for tribunals”, if the issue in Catalonia is to be tackled “with civility and positive spirit”. “Fewer tribunals and more politics; we will not resolve this through the courts” revealed the President.
After, threats from the People’s Party of a possible prosecution due to the celebration of the 9-N citizenry participation, the Chief Executive declared that “they will not intimidate us, if that is what they are looking to do”. “We will carry on and now we have even more legitimacy from a democratic point of view” announced the President, whilst remaining “very calm” because “we have done nothing which is illegal” and, instead, a process of participation was carried out “so that the people could express their opinion”.
Regarding, these threats, Artur Mas asked: “who is the People’s Party to announce what the Public Prosecutor will do?” denouncing, the total “vulnerability” as well as the “disorder and monumental chaos” that this signified. “I would not like to imagine a State where the Public Prosecutor is at the orders of a political party” told Mas, adding how “worrying it is that the People’s Party is the spokesperson” of this judicial body. The president of the Generalitat also made reference to the fact that, last Saturday, Mariano Rajoy said that what would happen in Catalonia on Sunday was neither a consultation nor a referendum. “If this were the case, what is the Public Prosecutor’s office doing here?” Mas asked. “There is a discursive dissonance and a total contraposition here” noted the President.
Call for dialogue to agree on a definitive consultation
President Mas held a press conference in the Palau of the Generalitat after the weekly Executive Council meeting in which he announced the sending of a letter to President Mariano Rajoy, just as was declared days before. Mas explained the three objectives of the letter: “to invite the Spanish Government to agree on the conditions for permanent and constructive dialogue; agree, if it is still possible, on the terms for a definitive and politically binding consultation; and to remind him that what we have before us can be resolved with high politics and a sense of Statehood”.
President Mas insisted on his political will to have the definitive consultation, “if possible, in agreement with the Spanish Government” and added that after the 9-N, the country has more reasons and arguments than before to ask for such negotiation. “Catalonia deserves to have this consultation in a definitive and politically binding manner, just as it was done in Scotland and Quebec” Mas concluded.
In the letter to Mariano Rajoy, president Mas also made reference to the 23 issues that were raised in the meeting held last July which are "urgent and important" because they "affect the daily lives of our citizens and the viability of our public services".
Parties in favour of the Right to Decide
Despite the desire of the Spanish Government to agree on the terms of a definitive consultation, the Chief Executive confessed having "little confidence" in the predisposition from Madrid and insisted that we will not hold back on this process to wait for the Spanish Government if there is no indication that they are willing to negotiate. "We have clear ideas, we are ready to move forward and overcome the obstacles necessary for the people of Catalonia decide on their political future" declared Mas.
In this regard, the President announced that in the coming days he would convene a round of talks with all the political parties in favour of the right to decide, which would also include the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) as “the Right to Decide is also included in their electoral programme and because they also voted in favour on the Law on Consultations”.
Mas said that the purpose of the meetings, was to "listen to positions and proposals", "seek common ground" after the 9-N and "see what consensus there would be in using elections as a means to achieve the goal of a definitive consultation". After having heard all parties, Artur Mas said that, as president, he would offer a proposal and will announce it within ten and fifteen days.
Regarding this issue, the Head of the Catalan Government insisted that, just as is mentioned in the letter to Mariano Rajoy, if dialogue and agreement with the Central Government is not reached “the final instrument to have the definitive consultation, which is to call for elections, also exists”. “This possibility is available and we are prepared to use it if there is sufficient agreement within Catalan politics” in order to reach a definitive consultation. However, Mas stressed that “to focus elections with what is currently ahead of us is a mistake”.
“The goal after the 9-N is not an election” insisted the President, but a “fully fledged definitive consultation”. “For this to happen, perhaps there is no other alternative than to use elections, but we must not confuse the goal. If we do, we would enter into a debate of great confusion and we won’t be able to agree” stressed the President.
Cyber-attacks against the Government of Catalonia’s IT systems
Although the President already assessed the success of the 9-N on the same day of the vote, Mas expressed his feeling very "happy and proud" of the entire operation and declared that "the 9-N passed with flying colours”. "We gave a very good example as a country" he said, "despite the many obstacles and barriers that were against us".
Among these difficulties, the Chief Executive highlighted the “very harsh cyber- attacks” suffered by the IT systems in the Catalan Government. During those two days, Catalonia received 90% of all attacks in the Spanish State and the IT incidences were multiplied by 20,000 on Saturday and 60,000 on Sunday. “Never has there been an organised attack of such volume and characteristics” stressed the President. This put at risk sensitive concerns such as access to the SEM (Medical Emergency System), medical histories, emergency services and electronic pharmacy prescriptions. An attack, Mas assured, “which is being studied in depth”.
In the question and answer round with the press, Artur Mas, emphasised the role played by the Catalan Government in this process, ensuring that "a government that is left with a minority to risk so much, means that it is clear on what it has to do”. "Someone, someday, we will have to explain to us why we were left with a minority if the 9-N was such a success" noted the President.