Barcelona: The President of Cataloina, Carles Puigdemont, will not call an early snap election, a move that is seen as a prevision of a possible independence declaration.
In an official statement from the Catalonia government headquarters, President Carles Puigdemont said he has unsuccessfully tried to get “guarantees” from Madrid that a snap election would stop the suspension of Catalonia’s self-government. “There are no guarantees,” he said, accusing the Spanish government of behaving “irresponsibly.” Puigdemont added that it is now up to the Catalan Parliament majority to decide the next steps forward.
Puigdemont said during his short statement that “no one can say” that he or his government “did not try everything or were not willing to make huge sacrifices to reach compromise”. The Catalan president added that he had the “obligation to consider all options” and he was “ready to call elections if conditions were there to justify it”. “Those conditions do not exist,” he added, regretting that the Spanish government insisted on applying article 155 of the Constitution as a “vengeful measure” against Catalonia.
“I am the one who has the power to call snap elections and various people asked me over the past few days whether I planned to use that power or not,” Puigdemont explained. “My duty and my responsibility are to exhaust all paths, absolutely all of them, to find a negotiated solution for a political conflict of democratic nature,” he said, insisting that he was willing to call elections if they could have been held “with a certain normalcy.”
Puigdemont said he tried “honestly and loyally” to call snap elections in order to avoid the suspension of the Catalan self-government. According to him, that application is “outside the law, abusive and unjust and aims to eradicate” the “entire tradition of Catalanism.”
“There is no intention of stopping repression and to provide an environment without violence so that the possible election could have been celebrated”
“There is also no intention of stopping repression and to provide an environment without violence so that the possible election could have been held,” he added. “I think I have acted in accordance with my responsibility and considering the feelings that people from different political options presented me with,” he added. “But that did not provide, once more, a responsible response from the People’s Party, which took advantage of this option to add tension at a moment in which what is necessary is maximum calm and dialogue,” he stated.
“At this point, and naturally without having signed any decree to dissolve the Parliament or call elections, it is the Parliament’s duty to proceed as the majority of the Parliament determines with respect to the consequences of the application against Catalonia of Article 155”, he concluded, opening the door to a potential declaration of independence.
The Catalan Parliament will meet friday to decide next steps as Spain votes to suspend self-rule in the Senate.
If the parliament declares independence, it is likely that the central government in Madrid will act quickly to suspend the regional body and take over authority of the government in Barcelona.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has pressed to take control of the Catalan government, including its police, public media and finances. The Rajoy regime last week promised to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution designed to rein in Catalonia “to restore institutional legality and normality.”
The Spanish parliament is expected to make a decision on the takeover Friday.