Tensions on the rise among Catalan pro-vote parties

Leftists want referendum to include a range of options

Division between the bloc of parties in favor of holding a referendum on Catalan sovereignty has increased in the last few days. The leftist-green ICV has communicated to regional premier Artur Mas's CiU nationalists and the ERC Catalan Republican Left that it will not accept the Catalan government's push for a referendum that solely considers the idea of independence for the region.

ICV sources confirmed on Wednesday that its intention was also to consult on other possible ways Catalonia might fit into Spain as a whole, and especially whether or not Catalans wish to maintain the current state model.

The Generalitat is adamant that the referendum will be held next year despite the fact the conservative Popular Party-ruled central government directly rejects the idea and that Mas last month said the vote should be agreed to, or at least tolerated, by Madrid.

CiU and ERC want to issue a show of force by agreeing on the question and a date for the referendum by the end of this year, believing this will force the national government to the negotiating table. But this is only adding to the tensions in the pro-referendum bloc: some don't want to force the timetable, while others want the question to reflect as many of the different feelings on the matter as possible.

The tensions even extend to within the CiU grouping itself. Mas, of the Convergència side of the bloc, has publicly said he wants the plebiscite to ask whether Catalonia should be a state within Europe, while the Unió side prefers to stress the third, federal way advocated by leader Josep Antoni Duran Lleida.

ERC, meanwhile, is in favor of a clear question featuring the word "independence."

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