During a special meeting with foreign correspondents held on the morning of Sant Jordi’s Day, the President of the Catalan Government affirmed that the “State is doing a good job in trying to abort the Catalan political process”, however, “what they cannot impede is for the Catalan people to go to the polls and transform these elections into a plebiscite on Catalonia’s sovereignty”.
The central government’s attitude, Mas regretted, “lacks democratic quality and is politically short-sighted” in terms of “the enormous virulence” with which it is attacking the Catalan political process. “It is not only attacking the democratic right a nation has in deciding its own future, but in the case of Catalonia, it is attacking the largest economy of the Spanish state, the second most populated territory, the biggest exporter and the most open and probably the most innovative economy in the territory. They are acting against this territory, against this country and against this economy”, asserted the President.
The Chief Executive made these declarations in a special meeting with foreign correspondents at the Palau de la Generalitat. The gathering coincided with Sant Jordi’s Day, as it did in the previous year, and included the attendance of international correspondents from Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Italy, the United States and Switzerland, among others. The Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs, Roger Albinyana, accompanied the President during the event and made a brief introduction to explain the current political situation in Catalonia.
When asked about the electoral calendar, President Mas insisted that “in that which depends on me, which is a lot, the elections in Catalonia will be in September, on the 27th”. However, Artur Mas noted that “not everything depends on me” and put the example of situation where the Spanish prime minister decides to call early elections before the expected date. “Could this influence our calendar? We would have to discuss this in Catalonia”, highlighted the President, but insisted with his intention to call for elections in September.
When asked whether the failure to establish a single candidacy would complicate the international recognition of Catalonia as a new state, Artur Mas explained that for a sufficiently clear interpretation of the electoral result “we need many votes in favour of the ‘Yes list’ and this is in the hands of the people”. In this regard the President reminded the foreign correspondents that even though there would be different candidatures there will be one part of their program in common. Furthermore, there would be “elections in September in the form of a plebiscite, which does not mean I will call them as such, but rather have faith that the people of Catalonia to understand this approach and, by casting their vote, transform these elections into a plebiscite on the future of a Catalan state, whether this vote be cast in favour or against [the electoral programme]”.
At another stage of the meeting, the President was asked about the support found across Europe and in the United Stated in favour of the Catalan political process after his recent trip to the United States. Artur Mas stated that “when a foreign country appears neutral, we are happy because the Spanish institutions are putting a lot of pressure on foreign countries, governments and parliaments in order to obtain clear positions against the Catalan political process”. He also highlighted that this neutrality is “the most intelligent position” because, at this point, nobody knows what will happen in the future in either Catalonia or Spain and therefore “it is better to wait and see if our process remains democratic, peaceful and civilized, and interpret the results in the September elections”.