This week, in an open letter published in El País, President Carles Puigdemont and Vice President Oriol Junqueras reaffirmed, once more, the Government of Catalonia’s willingness to negotiate with the Spanish state and agree on referendum for Catalan independence.
Drawing parallels between the cases of Catalonia and Scotland, which is now preparing its second referendum on independence in three years, the letter in Spain’s highest-circulated newspaper reiterated the Catalan executive’s firm commitment to resolve political differences through agreement because differences “only separate and divide if there is no will to resolve things; differences are part of coexistence in a democracy”.
“This is how democracy is strengthened and reasserts itself in the face a populist push”, the President and Vice President stated, criticising the oversimplification of trying to resolve differences “through prohibition, putting up walls and discrimination”.
“We will do everything in our power to see that the people of Catalonia can vote in 2017”, they asserted in the letter, “we have reached this point through conviction and commitment, while being accountable for the mandate given to us by the voters”.
According to the President and Vice President, “others have decided to delegate their political responsibilities to the courts. They hide themselves behind the Constitutional Court, behind the Supreme Court and the regional courts, with no concern about compromising the separation of powers and the role of the courts as neutral arbiters”.
In this respect, the Op-Ed cited various cases in which the international community has called for political solutions to the current conflict. The Opinion put out by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, for instance, “showed its concern without any ambiguity for the drift in Spain’s democracy which seriously compromises the fundamental health of the rule of law”. Accordingly, a recent report from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation also called for political dialogue, and a political solution. Moreover, The British Parliament that allowed Scotland to vote formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group to monitor the situation in Catalonia. “One thing is certain,” Puigdemont and Junqueras noted, “that which is possible in Westminster isn’t possible in the Spanish Cortes”.
The Op-Ed concluded by asserting that “whether one is for or against independence, in a democracy there is no right to refuse dialogue”. “We are already seated at the negotiation table. How long before the others arrive? Or will they even come?” the letter asks.
Original article in El País available here.