Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dozens of Catalan Towns Debate Independence

Balaguer, Gavà, Cardedeu and Fornells de la Selva vote on the motions today, and Montblanc and Hostalets de Pierola will do so tomorrow

Many towns are currently in the process of deciding whether or not to support popular referendums on independence, like that of Arenys de Munt. Today, Balaguer, Gavà, Cardedeu and Fornells de la Selva will vote during their council meetings on motions of support from their towns for independence; tomorrow they will vote in Montblanc and Hostalets de Pierola, Tarragona will vote September 28, Reus on October 8, and thirty more towns will vote in the coming weeks.

Josep Manel Ximenis, councilman and member of the organizing commission in Arenys de Munt explained to Vilaweb that the group Coordinadora 13 desembre - Consulta per la independència [Coordinating December 13 - Referendum for Independence] met yesterday to develop a model, based on that of Arenys de Munt, that can be used by the towns to hold their independence referendums from this point forward. "It's better to have a referendum in 20 towns and do it right than to have chaos in 200 towns," said Ximenis. The Web site of the December 13 group is active as of today and soon will have an updated list of towns holding a referendum, in addition to support services and information for the towns themselves. In particular, Ximenis underlined the importance of the towns agreeing on a single date for the referendums. The group has already proposed the date of December 13.

Choosing a date for the referendums

The date is one of the principal matters that the mayors and councilpeople  who belong to the movement will decide during their next meeting planned for October 3. One member of the association, and mayor of Sant Pere de Torelló, Jordi Fàbrega, declared to Vilaweb that December 13 is one possible date, but that there are two additional proposals, all of which are before Christmas.

ERC and CUP promote referendums in the towns they control

While they're deciding on the date to hold the referendums, there are other towns that have also confirmed that they will participate. the president of ERC, Joan Puigcercós announced last week that the towns of Borges Blanques, Agullana, Almoster, L'Arboç, Tagamanent, Caldes de Montbui, Alella, Xerta, Santpedor i Serós, where the mayors belong to his party, will vote on motions of support very soon.

For its part, CUP are also promoting referendums on independence in the towns where they have representation, in Sant Celoni, Sallent, Montesquiu, Vilafranca del Penedès, Manresa, Valls, Molins de Rei, Capellades, Celrà, Viladamat and Torà, where they will also vote in the coming days during their council meetings on whether or not to support the referendums.

Other towns that have also expressed interest in holding a referendum, but have not yet specified the date for voting in council are Castellserà, Sant Antoni de Vilamajó, Lleida, Blanes and Sant Pere de Torelló.

Councilpeople who don't follow the party line

In the case of Santa Coloma de Farners, the PSC councilpeople have not followed the recommendations of their parties with respect to the Catalan question. In the council meeting on September 14, the three groups that make up the governing group (CiU, ERC and PSC) expressed their desire to give support to "any initiative" that arose from town entities with respect to holding a popular referendum on Catalan Independence. This attitude contrasts with the message expressed from the headquarters of PSC on Nicaragua Street, given that the leaders of the Catalan Socialists at the national level are not in support of Independence Referendums.

In contrast, the mayor of Tortosa, Ferran Bel (CiU), who is the organizer of the group [We Decide] and member of the National Council of CDC, decided on the opposite position, and has made it clear that his government will not support a popular referendum because there is a ruling that prohibits it. Bel has made it clear that he is not in favor of allowing the city to become part of a "media circus", as he described the events at Arenys de Munt.

Originally published on Vilaweb on 24 September 2009 06:00h

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