Puigdemont: “If Spain agrees to allow the referendum, it can be delayed; we can negotiate the date”

Article published at Ara in English, 3rd October 2016, by Albert Solé.

The President of the Generalitat explained on RAC1 that he doesn’t want to set a minimum turnout, but he will not accept a result with 75% abstention

President Carles Puigdemont explained on RAC1 radio that he is prepared to change the date of the referendum if the Spanish government —whatever it ends up being— is willing to negotiate and allow a referendum. He is open to talking not only about the date, but also about other parameters of the vote.

Puigdemont will travel to Madrid to explain himself on October 10 at a conference/discussion, though he doesn’t think that this will be his last call for dialogue with the State– “the offer doesn’t have an expiration date”. But if there is no Spanish response to his offer, he is already thinking of a non-approved referendum to be held at the end of September, as he doesn’t want it to be too close to the September 11 Diada (Catalonia’s National Day). The way to bring the No supporters to the polls is to make it binding; that is, that he will proclaim independence the day afterward if “Yes” wins. Puigdemont reminded listeners that on 9-N, which was not a binding vote, there were 300,000 “No” votes.

* “If we can’t approve the budget, I will call fresh elections; but it is not agreed because we don’t have a draft version yet.”
* “I don’t foresee a scenario without a budget and I must call elections, but this is the only one in which I would run again, to move forward with the independence roadmap.”
* “I wasn’t 100% certain until yesterday, as the CUP told me that they were willing to vote in my favor, but they wanted to hear my speech, and I didn’t write it to indulge them”.
* “Before the summer I had some direct and indirect conversations to test if we are on the right path or not. On the day we ask people to follow us, they won’t do it if we don’t believe in it ourselves.”
* “Referendum September 17th or 24th?: “It must be on a Sunday, and it shouldn’t be close to the Diada, but I still haven’t set the date because it depends on how the laws for disconnection pan out in July”.
* “If Spain agrees to allow the referendum, then it can be delayed; if they negotiate we can agree on a date. If there is room for an agreement, which is what most Catalans want. I’ve already made an offer, not to Rajoy but to the entire social and political system of Spain”.
* “We must maintain an appeal for dialogue at the highest level; it can’t be a simulated offer”.
* “How can we convince the “No” voters? It won’t be a 9-N Part II. There will be a binary question, and the result will bind us. That’s an important difference from 9-N”.
* “The Venice Convention states that it is not necessary to set a minimum turnout for a referendum, because then there would be an incentive for the “No” supporters to encourage abstention. But if only 25% voted, clearly that the result would not be valid”.
* “The consequence of the referendum, if “Yes” wins, will be a declaration of independence, not to decide then what to do next”.
* “What makes a decision binding is the people, like when they demanded “freedom, amnesty, statute of autonomy” in 1976″.
* “Those in favor of independence were working for the Catalan Statute, because that was mainstream Catalanism at the time. That is why I ask that —now that backing independence is the new mainstream— that those who support political devolution work with us, too.”
* “Whenever Mr. Margallo says he has “no wish to dramatize” I put my hand on my wallet. I believe that the most serious defiance in the history of Spain was the Spanish Civil War, not what happened in 1934″.
* “Regardless of what Margallo or Feijóo says, we’ll go our own way. I was sorry to hear what the President of Galicia said about guns, because while the PP negotiated with ETA, they refuse to talk to us, who have not broken a single plate”.
* “I sent a congratulatory note to Mr. Feijóo, because it’s the right thing to do, but if he doesn’t apologize, then that’s that”.
* “I feel closer to Urkullu than to Duran i Lleida. The advice that Urkullu gives to Catalans comes from a country that has a unique economic agreement within Spain and he would never have been given the same advice if he were in Catalonia”.

(…)

Read the full article here.

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