· The President of Catalonia has called for early elections to the Catalan Parliament, to be held next November 25.
· During the General Policy Debate opening speech, the head of the Executive branch affirmed that "it's time for Catalonia to exercise its right to self-determination."
· He declared that "it is the people of Catalonia who are the rightful masters of their own destiny, and who should decide who should represent them in these historic moments, and with how much strength, and how much legitimacy."
The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, announced during his address at the General Policy Debate the convocation of early elections on next November 25. The head of the Executive said that because of the massive demonstration on Catalonia's National Day “there is a before and an after” and therefore, “the voice of the street must be expressed at the polls”. “The time has come for Catalonia to exercise its right to self-determination”, and, he added, in a “democratic, peaceful, and constructive”, manner.
Artur Mas explained that the call for elections “is the only way to know if those who didn't go to the demonstration are all against what was declared there, or if all those who went were actually in favor”. The president added that “this is the greatness of democracy”, because “in exceptional circumstances, that may well have a weighty historical dimension, what is paramount is the verdict of the people, who must, with their vote, decide which paths should be taken in the future”.
The head of the Government signaled that the elections “are almost always the site of partisan confrontation” and so asked for “a high level of self and of country, and an additional dose of generosity, even personal generosity”. In this sense, he announced that “once the national objectives that the Catalan people decide on have been achieved, I will not run for re-election”. The President declared himself hopeful that these “objectives might be achieved in the next legislature, better in one than in two”.
Upon finishing his speech, the President said that the elections “were not being called to help keep any one person or party in power”, but rather “so that the whole of the Catalan population can decide together in a democratic, peaceful, civic way what its future should be as a nation”.
The President of the Generalitat recognized that “the path that Catalonia is prepared to follow is full of obstacles” and he warned that “there will be insults, provocations, and threats of all kinds” and that “language and geographic origin will be manipulated in order to pit people against each other”. Therefore, he affirmed that in the short term, “Catalonia will have to construct large majorities, and have a strong will and a huge capacity for resistance”. “Nothing will be easy, but everything is possible”, he concluded. In another part of his speech, he also signaled that “we needn't look for outside enemies, we must only concentrate on our interior strength as a people and as a nation”.
With respect to the reasons for advancing elections, the head of the government underlined, in the first place, “the powerful, massive call from the street” and added that “any other kind of citizen referendum on matters of such transcendental importance” would have represented “a kind of fraud” in that “the platform with which we won the elections in 2010 included the fiscal pact, but no objective that went beyond that”.
"This time, it won't be the [Spanish] Congress who votes, but rather the People of Catalonia"
In this sense, Mas stated that the fiscal pact “was not understood” by the central [Spanish] government as “a good opportunity for repairing the relationship between Catalonia and the rest of the State and reversing the growing fatigue between the two”. And, with respect to [Spanish] President Rajoy's proposal to bring the fiscal pact to the Spanish Congress, Artur Mas explained that his answer was no “because I wasn't willing to go undergo further tribulations or humiliation”. “This time, it won't be the [Spanish] Congress who votes, but rather the People of Catalonia”, he underscored.
He warned that “time will prove that the Socialist Party and the People's Party have acted with gross political shortsightedness". In addition, he said that, besides Catalonia, in the Spanish state, “no one else is demanding fiscal sovereignty: some because they already enjoy it, others because they don't want it”.
The President of the Generalitat also mentioned the “more personal” reason for advancing the elections: The combination of the demonstration on September 11 and the refusal of the Spanish government to negotiate the fiscal pact “require me to be true to my own ideas and my own commitments”. It's for that reason that he said that “this is not the time for institutions to play it safe” but rather “to go for it, beyond personal comfort or partisan interests”. “It is the People of Catalonia, authentic masters of their own destiny, who should decide who should represent them in these historic times, and with how much strength and legitimacy", he declared.
Further, Artur Mas affirmed that “we Catalans want respect for who we are and not to have to beg every day nor have to justify ourselves for being what we are”, and he added that “we want the same instruments that other nations have in order to preserve our collective national character and to develop our own project as a country and a society”.