Monday, 12 October 2009

Referendums For the Right to Decide

The referendum on Catalan independence, celebrated on September 13 in Arenys de Munt, stirred up an emotional debate throughout Spain. Now the discussion in media has calmed down, but in many municipalities preparations are being made for the next step, planned for December 13.

Vilanova i la Geltrú is one of the municipalities where the town council will not give support to a referendum. When the opposition party CUP proposed a motion, only Esquerra, the smallest party of the local tripartit government, and opposition CiU voted with them. The governing socialists (PSC) and their smaller partner ICV-EUiA could count on PP to join them in a ‘no’.

Judging from the election results on any given level (to the town council, to the parliaments of Catalonia and Spain, respectively, and that of the EU), that decision is perfectly representative for Vilanova i la Geltrú, where from 50% to 68% of the population vote for parties which, in the most extreme case, want a federal state (ICV-EUiA), status-quo (PSC) or a more united Spain (PP).

The fact that there is an obvious majority for a 'no' does not discourage a platform called VNG Decideix (“Vilanova i la Geltrú decides”) from planning a local referendum, possibly for December. It was founded on September 26 and is organised in three commissions: the first one has the task to spread the message, the second one to set up the infrastructure for the voting day and the third one is responsible for the contacts with the pan-Catalan referendum co-ordinators.

To make the platform as open as possible, its members join as citizens, not as representatives of any political party, and VNG Decideix is actively looking for more people, especially among those who will vote 'no'. That is a real challenge, since the strategy of the 'no'-parties is to ignore the issue and manifest their point of view through a low voter turn-out, not through active voting.

However, the commitment of this platform in Vilanova makes me feel that the Catalan referendum movement is, in fact, not about a 'yes' or a 'no' to sovereignty, but about a people’s democratic right to decide (dret a decidir). If not, why would so many independentistes invest time in this project in a town where they know that the best possible outcome is a massive 'no'?

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Technorati tags: Catalonia, CiU, Independence, Penedès, PSC, Spain, Vilanova

1 comment:

Toni said...

That's right, it's all about the right for people to decide! Spaniards are scared to ask, we Catalans are only too happy to conquer this most basic democratic right, no matter what the outcome will be!