President Puigdemont
President Puigdemont during the 'Guarantees for Democracy' event
The President of the Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, assured that “on 1 October there won’t be a train crash”, as some have conjectured, but rather “the status quo will run off into a siding and other trains will continue the journey along their own tracks”. The Head of the Executive Council used this metaphor in his speech to explain the political setting at the event Guarantees for Democracy: for a Legal, Effective and Binding Referendum, which took place this evening at Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, and was attended by the Vice-President and the rest of the Executive Council.
Puigdemont stressed that the two key aspects of the referendum will be “the turnout and the result” and noted that “these aspects do not depend on any authority, law or institution. They depend on people and no state authority can stop that”. He added that “no action against politicians, civil servants or companies will be able to stop it”, because “it will be the people who will make victory possible”.
President Puigdemont further indicated that “fighting in the current state of affairs is risky”, but added that “resigning ourselves to defeat has a higher and longer-lasting price that will be paid by future generations”. “If we give up this power, if we render the referendum invalid because people don’t believe in it, and turnout is low, what will the State do? What it always does”, he explained.
Carles Puigdemont highlighted that “on 1 October there will be a decisive vote”. “Voting is what decides, so we will respect every citizen’s vote”, because “it is the only transformation tool we have”, he insisted. “The only thing that cannot change anything is stagnation, doing nothing, not voting”, he warned. Accordingly, he assured that “the Executive Council is committed to making this decisive vote possible because the role of democracy is to decide”. “We can issue a guarantee to all citizens that on 1 October we will vote”, he stated.
For his part, the Vice-President of the Government, Oriol Junqueras, insisted in his speech that the referendum on 1 October must be “a true example of democracy that goes beyond borders” in contrast to the “State’s democratic deficits and attacks on democracy”. “This is and will be a normal referendum, with polling stations, ballot boxes and ballot papers”, because, he said, “the main difference is that it will be held with the State’s open and brutal opposition”.
Junqueras explained that “we are protected by legality and democratic legitimacy”, because “there is only one possible legality, which is based on the principle of democracy”. And he assured that the State “has self-imposed the obligation to respect the right to self-determination” and “is obliged to protect this referendum” through its adhesion to international treaties that explicitly state as much.