Separatists propose new referendum in Catalonia, parallel government in Belgium

Separatists propose new referendum in Catalonia, parallel government in Belgium

Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties are proposing the holding of a new referendum in Catalonia on a future constitution for the “Catalan Republic” that was proclaimed in October but remains a dead letter. In a new accord consulted on Thursday by the French news agency, AFP, they also propose the creation in Belgium of a parallel structure of government headed by deposed President Carles Puigdemont, who has been in exile in this country following the aborted declaration of independence of the 27th of October 2017.

The accord is the fruit of weeks of tough negotiations between the two main parties, Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia and the Republican Left of Catalonia. It still has to be ratified by the Candidature of Popular Unity, a small, separatist, extreme-left party.

The accord envisages the launch of a participatory process to define the contours of independent Catalonia that would culminate in a draft future Constitution of the Catalan republic”. This process would culminate in a referendum at which citizens would vote on each paragraph. This consultation would doubtless be described by Madrid as “illegal”, like the self-determination referendum of the 1st of October, which was marred by police violence.

The separatists have also pledged to create a “Free space in exile” in Belgium, a “private law” body presided by Puigdemont. Its role would be to “favour the internationalization of the independence-for-Catalonia cause and to move forward on the establishment of the Catalan republic in coordination with the Government in Barcelona.

“Catalonia’s cause is emerging today as the just cause of all peoples who wish to be free,” the text of the accord states.

At regional elections on the 21st of December 2017, pro-independence parties obtained an absolute majority of seats, but for now, they have been unable to agree on swearing in a government and free themselves from the central government’s tutelage over the region.

The new regional president is scheduled to be sworn in on Monday, but there is no certainty that it will happen since the sole candidate, Jordi Sanchez, is in preventive detention and would need an authorization to leave prison, which he is unlikely to obtain.

The Brussels Times

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