I have just signed an executive order calling for the next elections to the Parliament of Catalonia, which will take place on Sunday, September 27th. This is a call for elections in accordance with the current legal framework, resembling all those that have been made up to this very day in terms of form. Yet we all know that these elections will be quite different on a deeper level.
Under normal circumstances, these elections would have been held at the end of the coming year. But this is not a time of normal conditions in Catalonia. When a clear and unequivocal majority of a nation want to exercise their right to decide [their own future], democratically and peacefully, and they are constantly denied this right, impeding dialogue and negotiation – and thereby an agreement or pact – it means that we have before us an exceptional situation which requires also exceptional decisions. Responding to and providing an outlet for this democratic desire which justifies this call for early elections to the Parliament.
Two years ago I wrote in a general policy debate that I was prepared to make use of the legal powers vested in me to call for early elections if the [central government of the Spanish] State tried to silence the voice and the vote of the people of Catalonia. We wanted a legal and agreed-upon consultation on our political future. The Spanish Government’s complete refusal, even to discuss the issue, now precipitates this decision that was announced some time ago.
As the President of Catalonia, I call upon all political forces and coalitions to present in a responsible manner their proposals and projects for the future of our nation. All proposals, as long as they respect human rights, are legitimate in democracy, and it is free citizens alone who can make these proposals possible with their votes. What I ask is for all to respect that which our citizens decide, and to make the commitment to finding the political and legal means to implement the democratic mandate of the ballot box.
In the coming weeks, the world will be observing us once again. Let us be conscious of this, and again show the world our best. From a legitimate confrontation of proposals, let us make a great exercise in dialogue.
We are a plural and diverse nation. We are a nation with a thousand-year history, the fruit of the labor of women and men who generation upon generation have built, and who have loved, Catalonia. We are a nation made up of people of different origins, languages and beliefs, who have seen in this land the opportunity to grow, develop and give a future to their children and grandchildren. We are an ancient nation that has the right to decide its own future; we are a nation of free people who have won for ourselves the right to decide what we want to be and how we wish to govern ourselves. We compare and contrast models, defending them passionately; from civility and respect for the opinions of others, we make a characteristic of our democracy; from coexistence in difference, we make an asset; from plurality and respect, a virtue; and from the right to dream and to make possible the future we want, a horizon of hope for building a better country. [To make] a better life for each of us.
I humbly believe that we can make this September 27th an important date in our history. Democracy is now the protagonist; ballot boxes, votes and free choice, the instruments. A future forged from democracy, justice and liberty is on the horizon. Let each and every one of us assume the responsibility and leadership the moment asks of us, and let us make ourselves worthy of it.
Long live Catalonia!