BID FOR INDEPENDENCE

“There is no plan B,” Mas tells press on independence vote

Catalan premier says that “everything is in place” for November plebiscite on secession from Spain

Regional premier Artur Mas, during his press conference on Tuesday.
Regional premier Artur Mas, during his press conference on Tuesday.TONI GARRIGA / EFE

The Catalan regional premier, Artur Mas, appeared before the press on Tuesday to insist that his plan to hold a plebiscite on independence for the northeastern region will be going ahead in November. “We have everything ready to go,” he told reporters, adding that the vote would be held “in a legal manner.” There was, he continued, “no plan B: the plan is to vote.”

Mas offered an assessment of the political year, and was keen to clear up any doubts as to his plans after the summer vacation is over. “Everything is set for the vote,” he explained. “We will carry it out according to a Catalan law because the laws of the Spanish state do not give us room to do so.”

He also explained that the regional government will observe three principles in terms of the vote: “The consultation must be carried out according to three major parameters, which are democracy, laws and dialogue – not just the laws and the dialogue that the [central] government is talking about.”

The Catalan regional government will now be hoping that it will be given the space to hold the vote, which is strongly opposed by the central administration of Popular Party Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Mas insisted, however, that the aim of the plebiscite is “not to declare independence. I have always said that the consultation will be legal. I hope that [the government] will not try to impede Catalan law nor sink it.”

But Mas admitted that, after meeting with Rajoy last week, he had no indication that this would not happen. “Rajoy told me that the consultation could not take place because it was illegal,” he said. “It will not be illegal if they do not transform it into something illegal. In any case, the consultation will be carried out according to the law.”

The premier also argued that the Catalan economy was “solid,” and said that the region will be a key element if the Spanish economy is to emerge from the crisis. “The economic recovery has a Catalan accent,” he said, adding: “In Catalonia we do things better.”

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