Originally published in Vilaweb on 18 December 2012
The possibility of postponing the date if both parties agree made the pact possible.
The governability accord between CiU and ERC has become a reality. Artur Mas (CiU) and Oriol Junqueras (ERC) have come to terms in a meeting at the Palace of the Generalitat. Artur Mas' investiture, for which Oriol Junqueras has once again pledged support, will take place Thursday and Friday, as was confirmed by the President of the Parliament, Núria De Gispert. The accord says that there will be a solemn declaration in the first session of the legislature with respect to the commitment to the right of self-determination; and it includes the commitment of CiU and ERC to hold a referendum on independence in 2014, with the possibility of postponing it if both parties agree.
On the referendum, Junqueras said that the accord guarantees the "necessary clauses for putting the future of Catalonia in the hands of its citizens". The commitment is to hold the referendum in 2014. But if CiU and ERC so agreed, it could be postponed.
Here is the document that lays out CiU and ERC's commitment to holding a referendum in 2014.
"There are still a few minor details that will surely be resolved on Wednesday morning," added Junqueras, who said he was very satisfied, since the accord also contained "changes in economic and social policy". And he added that a sample of this will to implement change is the announcement that the government-elect intends to apply a tax on bank deposits, just as the Republicans had requested.
Junqueras tweeted the news: "The challenges ahead are enormous. Today a new era begins: to get through the crisis and to hold a referendum on independence."
—Oriol Junqueras (@junqueras) 18 December 2012
Just before leaving the Palace, the ERC President shook hands with Francesc Homs, the government spokesperson-elect. Junqueras also confirmed that the investiture would take place at the end of this week.
Assessing the situation
CiU and ERC agree to work on consolidating a wide social majority that allows them to ensure the success of the referendum. That comes after it becomes clear that an important part of Catalanism—according to the agreement—had fully committed itself to transforming the state so that Catalonia could fit in better, but it has seen, and the "repeated negative replies" from Spain confirm, that this is a dead end.
It's for that reason that it is necessary to hold a referendum so that the people can freely and democratically decide their own future, and now we have "an opportunity that only presents itself once in many lifetimes". CiU and ERC note that various opportunities have come together: "the opportunity to construct a new country; the opportunity of the Catalan People to be the protagonist of its own story; the opportunity to put politics in the center of public debate; the opportunity to create a better society based on social justice and equality; the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment with democracy, with peace, and with Europe."
"Catalonia must have tools of state," continues the agreement, so that Catalonia can "develop its own nation building project to the widest degree". Both parties underscore that Catalonia could live much better off than currently if it had full access to the resources generated by its citizens and businesses and if it had the power to make decisions over what belongs to it and affects it.