BARCELONA, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — The upcoming alternative independence consultation in Catalonia does not violate any Spanish laws and is in full compliance with the constitution, which grants freedom of expression, Josep Rull, General Secretary of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, told RIA Novosti Friday.
“Our goal with this vote is to protect three principles outlined in the Spanish constitution: the right of participation, freedom of expression and freedom of ideology. We do not wish to turn this vote into a campaign of disobedience, this is a normal, democratic act,” Rull said.
“We are convinced that citizens will use this tool of political expression and democratic dignity, and that it will be used by both those who support and those who oppose independence. The vote is in everyone’s interest,” he stated.
Rull lashed out at the Spanish central authorities, stating that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is “trying to make November 9 the day of Spain’s democratic disgrace”, while Catalans are trying to make it “a day of democratic dignity”.
According to the Catalan politician, some 50 percent of residents in the region would like independence, some 30 percent oppose it, while 20 percent would like Catalonia to become a state within Spain. The number of independence supporters is increasing because of Madrid’s continuous efforts to call off the vote, he stated.
Catalan authorities are ready to hold talks with the Spanish government if Madrid comes up with any alternative proposals, though independence would be more profitable for Catalonia, Rull told RIA Novosti.
“Our party has made a bid for independence. We have decided that if the Spanish state offers something interesting to Catalonia, Catalans can vote for independence or for a change in status. We will explain to Catalans that, taking into account historical precedents and the Spanish state’s failure to fulfill its promises, the creation of our own state is better for Catalonia, for Spain and for Europe as a whole,” he stated.
The Democratic Convergence of Catalonia party makes up the largest part of the ruling Convergence and Union alliance and is headed by Catalan president Artur Mas.
There may be so-called plebiscite elections following the November 9 vote, Rull said. “These elections will be binding, they will be held within the framework of Spanish law, the Spanish electoral system, where electoral commissions will be arbitrators under the supervision of the Spanish state. No one can challenge [the vote’s] legality”.
Rull said that he cannot exclude the possibility that Spanish authorities will “call for a normal referendum, like in Scotland or Quebec, agreed by both parties. But since we see that it would be difficult, we should open the road to these elections with clear election programs that could turn them into a referendum."
On September 27, Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree scheduling the region's independence referendum for November 9. The Spanish government announced that it would block the motion by appealing to the Constitutional Court. On September 29, the court suspended the referendum, declaring it illegal.
Mas then stated that the voting in November would not be carried out as an official referendum, but rather as a questionnaire to find out public opinion. However, this was also blocked by the court. Despite the protests of the central government Catalonia is set to go ahead with the vote.