THE CATALAN QUESTION

Republican Left wants single question in Catalan independence referendum

Voters should be asked: “Do you want Catalonia to be independent,” party leader suggests

Oriol Junqueras, the leader of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), on Monday insisted that the planned sovereignty referendum for the region should comprise a single question: whether or not Catalans want independence from Spain.

Premier Artur Mas shocked the ERC, whose support allows the center-right nationalist CiU group to govern, last week when he said that the self-rule vote would not be held in 2014 if it had not been legally sanctioned by the Spanish state. In Madrid, the conservative Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy insists that if Catalonia were to unilaterally hold a referendum, it would be in breach of the Constitution. However, it subsequently emerged that Mas and Rajoy have been in secret talks to try and find a solution to the self-rule vote impasse.

Mas later tried to reassure the ERC that his plan was still to hold the vote in 2014, but there is a faction within the CiU that wants a referendum that includes several questions that do not directly address independence.

“What makes a referendum binding is its outcome,” Junqueras said in an interview the RAC1 radio station. “There should be only one question, and I repeat, one; a question that should be sufficiently clear so that it elicits an explicit answer.”

Junqueras instead insisted the question should be on possible secession and made a number of suggestions as to how it should be framed. “Do you want Catalonia to be independent? Do you want Catalonia to have an independent state?”

The ERC leader said his party is willing to listen to Mas’s request for the ERC to formally enter the government once arrangements for the referendum have been agreed. Mas promised Junqueras last Friday that those arrangements would be settled before the end of this year.

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