The partnership government of Catalan regional premier Artur Mas on Thursday began circulating among opposition lawmakers its petition for next year’s planned vote on separatism. In it, the Spanish region of Catalonia is described as having “political and legal sovereignty.”
The document, drafted by Mas’s Catalan CiU nationalist bloc and its parliamentary partner, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), will be formally presented in the regional parliament for debate on January 23.
“Parliament agrees to declare democratic, political and legal sovereignty to the people of Catalonia by initiating a process so that they can decide by their right to vote,” reads the short text.
The document, which was obtained by the SER radio network, also calls for Catalonia to be integrated into the framework of the European Union as a separate state. CiU and ERC assert that they have a mandate from the population to carry out the separatist vote after their combined political forces won a majority of seats in last November’s regional elections.
But Mas’s bid to hold a referendum or plebiscite has put him on a collision course with the central Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which is trying to keep him from taking the sovereignty issue to the ballot box next year because, among other things, he doesn’t have the approval of Congress.
On Tuesday, during the inauguration of the high-speed AVE rail link between Barcelona and Figueres, Rajoy offered to hold discussions over an improved financial arrangement for Catalonia. But Mas appeared to brush off the prime minister’s offer.