The Catalan assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on the regional government of premier Artur Mas to begin talks with Madrid on agreeing a referendum in which Catalans will be allowed to vote on the status of the region within Spain.
The statement, rejected by Congress in Madrid last month, was approved by 104 votes in favor, with only the 27 Popular Party lawmakers in the assembly voting against, and with the three leftist CUP deputies abstaining.
The motion was put forward by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which in last month’s vote in Congress split with the national Socialist Party (PSOE) by backing the proposal put forward by Mas’s CiU nationalist bloc.
The other parties backing the proposal, CiU, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the leftist-green ICV, highlighted the importance of the PSC coming on board with their drive for self-rule.
However, PSC leader Pepe Navarro told the regional assembly that his party does not want independence for Catalonia but rather a federal state.
Navarro said what people are asking for is what has taken place in “advanced democracies in the world such as Canada and Britain,” referring to independence votes for Quebec and Scotland. He said if an independence referendum is held, the PSC will ask people to vote no.
The 13 PSC deputies who voted in Congress in favor of the resolution approved Wednesday by the regional assembly were fined 600 euros by the PSOE for a breach of party discipline. Former Defense Minister Carme Chacón, also a PSC congressional lawmaker, abstained in the February vote. She was still fined.