Aragonès proposes a referendum: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent State?"

Inspired by the referendum that Scotland held in 2014: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent State?” This is the question that Pere Aragonès proposes for a hypothetical vote to resolve “the political conflict.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 16:21
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Aragonès proposes a referendum: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent State?"

Inspired by the referendum that Scotland held in 2014: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent State?” This is the question that Pere Aragonès proposes for a hypothetical vote to resolve “the political conflict.” The answer, totally binary: yes or no. The query would not mark a percentage of participation to be validated.

The president of the Generalitat appeared this afternoon at the Centelles Palace in Barcelona to give an account of the report that the Institute of Self-Government Studies (IEA), led by former ERC councilor Joan Ridao, delivered to him this morning. The organization had the task on the part of Aragonès to establish the legal way for the materialization of an independence referendum and has opted as a priority option to channel it through article 92 of the Constitution.

This article provides that political decisions of special importance can be dealt with through a referendum. “There are solid legal arguments to maintain that Article 92 of the Constitution does not raise serious objections of unconstitutionality,” the IEA report states. Even so, the literal meaning of the text is that of a "consultative referendum of all citizens", so the two parties should mark the degree of linkage of the referendum and its universe. For Aragonès, the clarity agreement that he has been proposing since 2022 would be the ideal scenario for this task.

The document itself prepared by Ridao assumes that the results would open the door "simply to a negotiation in good faith between the territorial actors and to an eventual implementation of the results, if necessary, within the framework of constitutional and international legality."

Aragonès has presented his proposal from the IEA headquarters. "Voting on independence is possible in the current legislative framework and is only a matter of political will, like amnesty," he argued. The president wants to present his proposal in the next edition of the dialogue table, but he has admitted that his continuity depends entirely on the results of the Parliament elections on May 12.

Article 92 is the priority route, but the report contemplates alternatives, such as a reform of Organic Law 2/1980 on the regulation of the different modalities of referendum or the delegation of state functions to authorize referendums through article 150.2 of the Constitution .

It should be remembered that today's announcement is framed in the context of the clarity agreement. In October, an advisory council delivered a first report with five possible options. Aragonès chose the Scottish route, agreed and asked the IEA to prepare a second report, this time establishing the legal viability. He also announced that he would convene a table of Catalan parties to shape the clarity agreement, but he later renounced it after observing, he said, "short-term strategies" in the rest of the political formations.

The question differs little from the one posed for 1-O: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent State in the form of a republic?” The IEA report is skeptical about posing three answers "because it could contribute to distorting the result." And the legal route is the same one that Junts proposed during the investiture agreement of Pedro Sánchez as President of the Government, and that the PSOE rejects.

It differs, however, from the one proposed by the Parliament to Congress on April 8, 2014 through Jordi Turull (then in CiU), Marta Rovira (ERC) and Joan Herrera (ICV) when they invoked article 150.2 of the Charter. Magna for the transfer of powers: "The State may transfer or delegate to the autonomous communities, through organic law, powers corresponding to matters of state ownership that by their very nature are susceptible to transfer or delegation."

Aragonès's proposal does not set a percentage of participation for it to be validated, nor does it set a minimum of 55% votes in favor in a referendum to obtain independence. It is thus opposed to the option defended by ERC in its last political presentation, which establishes 55% favorable votes and 50% participation, in a manner similar to that of the Montenegro referendum.