Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Friday, 21 november 2014 | Bloomberg


Mas prepares for early vote in Catalonia boosted by polls

By Esteban Duarte
21 November 2014
Catalan President Artur Mas is shaping up for an early regional election targeting independence from Spain within two years.

Mas is setting up an ad-hoc platform to bring together pro-independence voters across the ideological spectrum, said Josep Rull, the secretary for Convergencia Democratica de Catalunya, one of the two parties that comprises Catalonia’s ruling CiU coalition. That broad support would allow him to call an early election regardless of whether he can persuade separatist rival Oriol Junqueras to sign up to a joint ticket.

“The key idea is temporarily to go beyond the dynamic of the classical parties,” Rull said in an interview in Barcelona yesterday before a meeting in the Catalan government offices. “It’s unlikely we go with a list that’s just CiU.”

Mas’s political stock is rising after he defied a Constitutional Court injunction to hold a vote on independence from Spain this month. The Catalan National Assembly, the civil society organization that led hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets of Barcelona in September, is pushing the president to capitalize on the separatists’ momentum by calling a regional election that would serve as a de facto and legal referendum.

Should voters elect a majority of pro-independence lawmakers to the Catalan parliament, they would name a government which will manage the transition to the independence during a period of not more than two years, Rull said. An agreement on a single list between CiU and Junqueras’s party, Esquerra Republicana, is still possible, he said.

Scotland’s ‘No’

Junqueras’s party, Esquerra Republicana, could also run its own candidates while sharing Mas’s plans for secession, he said.

Catalonia is home to 7.4 million people in the northeast corner of the Iberian peninsula. It has an annual output of 193 billion euros ($241 billion). That’s about the same as Finland or Scotland, where in September voters opted to remain part of the U.K. in an independence referendum that was allowed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

“The more united we are, the better,” the Catalan government’s culture chief Ferran Mascarell said in a separate interview yesterday.
Mascarell, who is also part of a group of social democrats intellectuals who want to see Mas lead the transition to independence, said that a platform that includes Esquerra remains the government’s preferred choice.

Poll Rebound

“If that’s not achievable, it’s possible to see two blocks that agree on a common element” related to the secession agenda, he said.
Support for the Catalan leader is increasing after more than 2.3 million people, about 37 percent of potential voters, took part in the illegal ballot on Nov. 9. Eighty-one percent backed independence.

In the first opinion poll published since that vote, Mas erased the lead Junqueras has established over the past year by taken a more aggressive stance on secession. Mas’s CiU was projected to win about 33 seats in the 135-seat chamber with Esquerra on 32, according to the survey conducted for El Periodico de Catalunya by GESOP. Five months ago Esquerra has a lead of 10 seats, the newspaper said.

“President Mas has played a very important role in the process,” Mascarell said. “He should keep the leading role.”

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia