Artur Mas approved as premier in Catalan parliament

Votes in favor come from Catalan nationalist CiU bloc and coalition partner ERC

Artur Mas is congratulated by his wife after being approved as regional premier.
Artur Mas is congratulated by his wife after being approved as regional premier.David Ramos / Getty Images

After two days of intense debates, the Catalan parliament on Friday approved the investiture of Artur Mas to a second term as regional premier with votes in favor coming from his Catalan nationalist CiU bloc and coalition partner Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party.

Mas promised to hold a referendum on regional independence before 2015 – a plan that has put him on a collision course with the Rajoy administration in Madrid.

“I am issuing a call to all those who are in favor of the right to decide so that they can make an effort to adopt the legal framework – which doesn’t necessarily mean it has to go through the Constitution – so that there can be a legal vote on sovereignty and the rights of the people can be guaranteed,” Mas said in a speech before his investiture was approved.

The CiU gave Mas its 50 votes, while 21 votes came from the ERC. There were 63 votes against his investiture, including those from the Catalan Socialist Party and the PP.

His swearing-in is expected to take place next week.

Earlier in the debate, Catalan PP president Alicia Sánchez-Camacho called on Mas to obey the Spanish Constitution, which he will have to pledge to defend at his swearing-in ceremony next week.

She said that the sovereignty vote that both the CiU and ERC have promised to organize will never be held. “This is nothing but deception,” Sánchez-Camacho said.

“Independence won’t help people with their mortgage payments, create jobs or pay for pensions.”

Mas and the CiU initiated talks with the ERC after losing 12 seats in the November 25 elections. The regional premier called an early vote to take advantage of the massive demonstrations in support for independence during Catalan Day last September.

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