In response to the ruling reached by Spain’s Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court) which declared the 9N citizen participation process as “unconstitutional”, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, held an informative press conference at the Palau de la Generalitat to assess the decision unanimously reached by the Court.
President Mas assured that the State’s new act of repudiation against the Catalan political process proves that “the only possible way” to know the Catalan people’s opinion “is to call for elections and support their plebiscitary nature, and this cannot be done any other way”.
“To those who are contrary, skeptical or doubtful, but who have deep democratic convictions, I tell you that we have tried everything and found no other path than the one we have taken because the alternative would be to do nothing”, asserted Mas, “and this”, he continued, “is the worst thing we can do”.
In this regard, the Head of the Catalan Executive also expressed a message to the political parties in favor of the right to decide, asking them not to “denaturalize these elections” in order to “not miss this opportunity” to ascertain the people’s opinion on the country’s political future.
“Ahead of such a new and immense challenge, attitudes must be at the height of these elections, which I personally cannot transform into a plebiscite, but the parties can if they truly understand that there is no other way”, revealed the Catalan president.
The 9N cannot be erased from history
During the press conference, President Mas made reference to the state Government’s actions when it tried “everything in its power to ensure the 9N not take place” and highlighted that, despite the ruling, “the 9N went ahead, and it cannot be undone or erased” and “it is written in golden letters in this country’s democratic history”.
The President of the Catalan Government also referred to the State’s behavior during the participative process stating that the Spanish government “was never going to digest the events of November 9 well” and “reacted in a completely exaggerated and disproportionate manner, turning what was essentially a genuine democratic operation into prosecutions”.
Responding to questions from the press, President Mas rejected the notion that the Court’s verdict would toughen the legal measures which the State “insists on pursuing”. In this respect, the Catalan president noted that despite the central government’s attitude and the lawsuits filed against him and other members of the Executive Council, “I have not ceased to continue dialogue”, however, “to date, dialogue has not given us a solution”, added Mas.
The President also made reference to the State’s refusal for a fiscal pact, the issue of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy, as well as the many attempts made in the last 30 or 35 years by Catalan institutions and political formations to discuss, reach agreements and give support to Spanish institutions. “With the way things are right now there is no possible way to talk about this issue”, disclosed Mas.
A ruling that proves Spain’s "low-intensity democracy"
The Head of Catalan Government noted that the Constitutional Court’s resolution does not question how the 9N was organized, but instead states that "the Generalitat cannot ask about Catalonia’s political future" and that "the people cannot express themselves regarding such issues".
Furthermore, it is a ruling that, according to the President, proves that the "Spanish Constitution, 37 years after being passed, has become a cul-de-sac for the aspirations of a large part of the Catalan people", not only those in favor of having their own nation-state, but also for those who simply want to "decide on our nation’s future in a free, peaceful and democratic manner”.
The fact that a democratic government cannot ask its citizens on the political future of their country and act accordingly indicates that Spain suffers from "low-intensity democracy", concluded President Mas.