Catalonia to vote on independence from Spain in October

Catalonia to vote on independence from Spain in October
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, flanked by his government and MPs from Junts pel SÍ and CUP. Photo: ACN

The Calalan president has called an independence for October 1. The Spanish government maintains such a vote is illegal.

Citizens will be asked: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a Republic?"

Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, made the announcement today in Barcelona.

Members of Parliament from both the Junts pel Sí coalition and the radical-left CUP, as well as the President of the chamber, Carme Forcadell, were also in attendance.

The Catalan government said the vote will be organized with "all guarantees" and the winning result will be implemented.

"All options are equally legitimate and valid," Puigdemont said. "Democracy unites us all beyond our legitimate and healthy discrepancies."

The Catalan President urged all citizens to participate in the referendum, arguing that deciding about the future of the country is "an inalienable right".

"We have sought an agreement again and again," Puigdemont said, describing the initiatives of his government over the last year and a half.

"We have actively participated in the National Pact for the Referendum. We have presented proposals to agree on a negotiation. We have adopted parliamentary and government resolutions urging the Spanish executive to talk and negotiate. We have directly expressed to the Spanish government our firm determination to sit down at the table and negotiate a solution. We have explained this around the world, in London, Brussels, Paris, Boston, Washington, New York, and Madrid."

"But we are at the end of our legislative term and we haven't had a single positive answer," he said, arguing that Madrid's refusal to negotiate a vote on independence justifies organizing it under the authority of the Catalan Parliament.

"Fulfilling our democratic commitment, today we have collectively ratified, with the Vice President and all our ministers, our willingness to call the citizens of our country, in the exercise of their legitimate right to self-determination, to a referendum that will be held on Sunday, October 1," Puigdemont said.

"It's up to the Catalans to decide their future," the Catalan President said.

The question will have to be answered with a single 'yes' or 'no', and will be written in the three official languages of the country: Catalan, Spanish, and Aranese, a language spoken by a minority in the Pyrenees.

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