Spanish Government rejects Puigdemont’s proposal to hold a binding referendum


Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont’s proposal to call a binding referendum in Catalonia as a way to overcome the current deadlock has been rejected this Friday by Current Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. “What Mr Puigdemont is asking for can’t be negotiated neither by us, the Spanish Congress nor the Senate, because it is not ours but belongs to the 47 million Spaniards” she said, referring to Spain’s sovereignty. “National sovereignty doesn’t accept neither comas nor conditions”, she added. According to Sáenz de Santamaría, Puigdemont, “is subject to the law”and “going further”than this means “exceeding the mandate given by the citizens and disrespects the national sovereignty”. On Wednesday, during the first phase of the vote of confidence, Puigdemont insisted on his willingness to discuss holding an agreed referendum in Catalonia. However, he also warned that if this option doesn’t get through, the Government will not be “paralysed”and would instead call a referendum to be held in September 2017.

“It’s either a referendum or a referendum”, Puigdemont stated before the Parliament during the first phase of the vote of confidence and forecast that the vote will take place “in the second half of September” next year. Puigdemont also assured that there was “a new opportunity for the Spanish State to recognise Catalonia and overcome this deadlock”by allowing a referendum to take place and insisted on his willingness to “discuss the date, the question and the required results”. Thus, Puigdemont made clear that the Government’s willingness to collaborate with the Spanish State continues, but he also warned that if this option doesn’t get through, he will “entrust Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras and Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Transparency and Participation, Raül Romeva, to start designing the referendum”. 

Referendum either on the 17th or 24th of September

Although he didn’t confirm any date, in an interview with Catalan radio Rac1, Puigdemont explained that the referendum may take place either on the 17th or the 24th of September next year. However, Puigdemont openned the door to “extend the deadline if Madrid agrees to hold a referendum”

Regarding the question of the referendum, the Catalan President would opt for “a clear”one: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, yes or no?”. He also insisted on the importance of the turnout.“Even if 100% of the votes are for independence, it wouldn’t make any sense if the participation were only 15%”, he said.