Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girona will hold a referendum for indpendence with the support of the city government

Girona is the first capital in the Principat* to decide to hold a referendum, thanks to the votes of CiU, ERC and ICV

The council meeting in Girona on November 10 will approve a motion in support of a referendum on independence. The referendum is being promoted by the civic committee Girona Decideix [Girona Decides], who introduced it this morning. In this way, Girona will be the first capital of the Principat de Catalunya to approve by council meeting the support of this initiative. CiU, ICV and ERC--who together have 13 council members--have already said they will support the motion.

The majority power, the PSC, has said that it won't declare its intentions until the vote. PSC and PP, who will vote against, only have 12 council members. The objective of the commission is to gather as many civic organizations and political groups in the city in order to hold the referendum at the beginning of 2010.

The referendum will not be held on December 13

Girona Decideix, which was organized by Òmnium Cultural, l'Ateneu d'Acció Cultural [Cultural Action Group] and el Casal Independentista El Forn ['The Bakery' Independentist Club], has made the first step, its introduction in public, in order to start gathering support to help organize the referendum. For now, the commission knows that the motion—which has not yet been written—will go up for a vote at the council meeting on November 10 and that the December 13th date to hold the independentist referendum is too tight a schedule. "We don't know yet which date we will choose", said Biel de Montserrat, the representative of Girona Decideix. "For now we want to invite other town organizations to join our proposal so that it has wide support," he said.

From the parties, the spokesperson for the CiU municipal group in Girona, Carles Puigdemont, has already announced that his group will support the motion and that it will be necessary to make an effort that it "come out right and has majority support". From ERC, the councilperson Miquel Poch also confirmed that his group will give the motion their "broad support". For its part, ICV, the number three group in the city government, Núria Terés has also said that her group's vote will be in favor because "it is a proposal that comes from the organizations and that, in addition, has a positive goal".

PSC avoids making a statement

PSC, the majority group in the city government with 10 council members, wants to wait to see the motion before making a statement. Their spokesperson, Joan Pluma, criticized the other parties for stating their support when they still don't have the actual text of the motion, and he said that "in politics, you have to be more rigorous". "We have to study what kind of support they're asking us for before we say we will vote for it," he said. The PP will vote against.

The government team is composed of PSC, ERC, and ICV. On this occasion, the alliance of Republicans and Ecologists with CiU, in the opposition, allows the motion to move forward. This combination of votes was also repeated in Setember of 2008 when ICV supported a motion presented by CiU and ERC for hanging an "estelada"* in an "important place in the city". It was the first time in 30 years that the PSC was unable to deny a motion.

The naming of the referendum in Girona will bring new issues since it will be called: "Citizen referendum for independence of the Catalan Nation". The objective of the promotor, Girona Decideix, is to give it a civic character and to be able to gather together the largest number of city entities possible. In particular, the title, "citizen referendum" aims to put the emphasis on who participates rather than on who originates it. As for the term, "Catalan Nation", the entity has used it with the objective of being able to include the entire country and not only the Principat of Catalunya.

Vilafranca also decides

In Vilafranca del Penedès, another organization has been created to encourage the City government to support a referendum on independence. The civic commission, "Vilafranca Decideix!" [Vilafranca Decides!] will present a motion in support of a popular referendum on independence in the next city council meeting, which will be held next Tuesday. In addition, they will also ask the Town to collaborate with the necessary resources, both material and economic, to hold the referendum. Presently, the commission is formed by 18 organizations, among which are ERC, CiU and CUP. Today, the civic group will organize the different work committees.

Originally published in VilaWeb on 21 October 2009, at 15:15h 

Translation Notes

*Principat refers to the "Principat de Catalunya", which is the current counties of Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona, and does not include, for example, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, etc.

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