THE CATALAN QUESTION

Catalan Socialist resigns seat ahead of referendum vote

At least three PSC deputies expected to rebel against party orders to oppose petition

Ángel Ros, the mayor of Lleida and a Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) deputy in the regional assembly, resigned his seat on Wednesday in protest at the PSC’s decision to vote against an independence referendum with members that fail to toe the line facing sanctions. “I supported abstention; I think that would have been the best solution, but I have resigned out of consistency, commitment to the citizenry and loyalty to the party’s members and voters,” he said.

“It is not right that the mayor of a provincial capital is constantly at loggerheads with the party leadership,” Ros added. Ros intends to remain in his position as mayor and run for re-election in 2015. He called on the PSC not to levy sanctions on any members who vote positively on Thursday, or who abstain. The assembly will be asked to approve a formal petition to Congress for the region to be allowed to hold a referendum on independence, slated to be held on November 9.

“There is room for us all in the PSC, including those who may vote against the position of the party,” Ros said.

The PSC favors a move toward federalism rather than outright independence for the northeastern region.

Three further PSC deputies, Joan Ignasi Elena, Marina Geli and Núria Ventura, are widely expected to thumb their noses at party voting discipline. Elena is expected to abstain while Geli and Ventura have not ruled out voting in favor of the referendum. The nationalist parties in the assembly, CiU, led by regional premier Artur Mas, the Catalan Republican Left and ICV will vote to approve the November ballot, despite the opposition of the central Popular Party government on the basis that such a move is unconstitutional.

Another PSC deputy, Rocío Martínez-Sampere, is expected to side with the party despite being hugely critical of its stance on the issue. Martínez-Sampere is the deputy with most on the line should the party hierarchy opt to discipline anybody who votes the other way: she hopes to win the primaries to stand as candidate for mayor of Barcelona in 2015.