Puigdemont: “The referendum will be carried out”

Article published by Catalan News Agency, 3rd March 2017

Barcelona (CNA).- “The allocation has been absolutely backed and the referendum will be carried out”, stated Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont in relation to the Council of Statutory Guarantees’ resolution which approved this Friday the allocation to call a referendum this September. In a similar sense, the Catalan Government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, assured that the “democratic mandate will be fulfilled point by point”. However, the Council of Statutory Guarantees, which checked whether the budget for 2017 complied with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution, found unconstitutional the 31st additional provision of the draft, which establishes that the Government is responsible for guaranteeing this allocation. The resolution stated that the “constitutional jurisprudence doesn’t recognise the Government’s power to regulate nor to call a referendum on Catalonia’s political future”. 

Puigdemont insisted that the will of Catalan citizens “has to be respected” and therefore the Government “must allow them to express their opinion” regarding Catalonia’s political future. He assured that city halls throughout Catalonia “are ready to do their share and make their contribution in the final stretch”. The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) was created specifically for the moment we are now living in, its objective is within reach” he said. “Everything we have done so far was oriented toward this, toward what is about to happen”, he added.

Catalan Government to fulfil the democratic mandate

In a similar sense, the Catalan Government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, also commented on the Council of Statutory Guarantees’ resolution. She admitted that the executive “will have to analyse” the resolution “rigorously” before making further comments but insisted that calling the referendum “responds to a parliamentarian mandate”. “Moreover, there is a democratic mandate which urges us to seek an agreement with the Spanish State”, she added. “We are working on it and the Government wants to fulfil the democratic and absolutely legitimate mandate to call a referendum”.

The Council for Statutory Guarantees resolution

This Friday, the Council for Statutory Guarantees approved the allocation of €5.8 million included in the budget for 2017 to carry out the pro-independence referendum which the Government has committed to call this September. However, the 31st additional provision of the draft, which establishes that the Government is responsible for guaranteeing this allocation, has been considered unconstitutional by the Council. According to the body, calling a referendum is not an attributed competence of the Government and therefore this authorisation can’t be foreseen in the budget.

The Council considered that the “constitutional jurisprudence doesn’t recognise the Government’s power to regulate nor to call a referendum on Catalonia’s political future”. Therefore, the budget “can’t foresee an authorisation for a public expenditure aimed at pursuing a non-attributed competence”.

The body responsible for checking whether the Catalan Government’s regulations comply with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution analysed the draft at the request of Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, the Catalan People’s Party (PPC) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). Since it is an advisory body, the resolution of the Council for Statutory Guarantees is not binding but has already meant a delay in the passing of the bill, which was due to be put to vote in February.

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