Catalan Socialists refuse to step down over support for independence

Trio of regional deputies broke party line in favor of federal plan

Barcelona -

Stepping down is not in the plans of the three Catalan Socialists (PSC) who broke rank with their party on Thursday to support a nationalist motion to ask Spanish Congress for permission to hold a referendum on self-rule.

Marina Geli, Joan Ignasi Elena and Núria Ventura underscored their intention to hold on to their regional assembly seats despite a deadline for resignation issued by Socialist headquarters that expired on Sunday.

This act of rebellion adds to a growing internal crisis within the Socialist Party, whose Catalan members are divided on the issue of the sovereignty drive.

Officially, the Spanish Socialist Party favors a shift towards a federal state structure that would grant Catalonia more powers while falling short of actual independence.

On Sunday Marina Geli sought to quell growing concern that these acts of dissent will ultimately lead to the foundation of a new party by disaffected PSC members.

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