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Catalan republicans call on premier Mas to ignore top court on self-rule vote

ERC leader Oriol Junqueras says he will not tolerate delays to planned November 9 referendum,

ERC leader Oriol Junqueras in the Catalan parliament in June.
ERC leader Oriol Junqueras in the Catalan parliament in June.Andreu Dalmau (Efe)

Just days after a Catalan government official suggested that the November 9 referendum on self-rule might be postponed, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), one of the regionally ruling CiU nationalist bloc’s pro-independence partners, has forcefully said it will not yield an inch over the timetable for the vote.

In a long article published in Catalan newspaper El Punt Avui, ERC leader Oriol Junqueras said his party would not tolerate any delays even if the central government in Madrid appeals the referendum to the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it is illegal.

“Under no circumstances shall we accept submitting our will to vote, our thirst for justice and freedom, to the arbitrary decision of a group of magistrates handpicked by the Socialist Party and the Popular Party, never [...] If we did, it would not have been worth beginning this [pro-independence] process,” he wrote.

Junqueras, whose support is essential to regional premier Artur Mas’ CiU nationalists, wants to quash incipient displays of internal dissent within the ruling bloc and present a united front with a view to November.

Those who fail to live up to the moment will be judged by history. This is no time for doubting or vacillating” ERC leader Oriol Junqueras

Last week, Santi Vila, an official from Mas’s Convergència half of the CiU bloc, said the regional vote could not be held without consent from the Constitutional Court. Then, Mas’s own deputy, Joana Ortega, suggested that the referendum might be delayed if Madrid appealed it.

The statements reflect a lack of consensus within CiU, a more conservative group than its leftist partner ERC, which supports sovereignty with or without Madrid's approval.

“Agreements are there to be met, not to speculate with frivolously,” wrote Junqueras. “Those who fail to live up to the moment will be judged by history. This is no time for doubting or vacillating.”

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