THE CATALAN QUESTION

Socialists wary of Mas's pact overture

PSC leader says their party will not vote on a referendum for Catalan independence if illegal

In a speech in the Catalan parliament on Thursday, regional premier Artur Mas invited the Socialists (PSC) to join a governmental pact to produce "an administration with a wider spectrum."

The PSC, though, maintained its aloof stance on the possibility of a referendum on independence for the northern region: "We will abstain from any voting on the matter," warned its leader, Pere Navarro.

Despite forming a pact with the leftist ERC in order to govern, Mas said that his offer to the Socialists would remain open "for the duration of the legislature."

The Socialists insist that any vote must be held on a solid legal basis. In present circumstances, the referendum would not be binding. "It is up to you and [ERC leader Oriol] Junqueras to find a way to make it legally possible," Navarro said. "It is your pact."

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