The Catalan Greens have always supported the right to decide and placed self-determination as a core democratic value.
After the latest developments that have taken place after the summer break in Catalonia, the President of the region Artur Mas decided to call for early elections. The appointed date is November 25, two years ahead the normal schedule. This happened right after the refusal on September 20 by the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to negotiate a new financing model for Catalonia, likewise to that in the Basque Country and Navarra region, a claim supported by a large majority of the Catalan society and political parties.
The argument of the ruling Catalan conservative nationalist party (CiU) is that after such a rejection of one of their main electoral promises which brought them back to power in 2010, a new period has begun that requires a newly legitimated Parliament, notably after the demonstration of 1.5 million people on the streets of Barcelona on September 11 coinciding with the National Day of Catalonia.
Behind this self-proclaimed democratic approach there is nevertheless the intention to minimise the debate about their other promise in the last elections; to recover the Catalan economy. The reality is that after two years of office for the CiU the public finances are worse than ever. Having been the pioneers in austerity policy which translated mainly into drastic cuts in public services, CiU has watched unemployment rise seemingly unstoppably.
By putting the national conflict into the frontline of the political agenda, they are able not only to avoid the debate on their catastrophic governmental record, but also to gain further popular support among the increasing segment of the pro-independence population in Catalonia.
Such an increase in secessionism opinion in Catalonia is in a high part motivated by the recentralizing offensive of the ruling conservative PP, now in government in Madrid, which in 2010 denied the constitutionality of the new Statue of Autonomy of Catalonia that had been agreed on by both Catalan and Spanish parliaments and ratified in a referendum by a large majority of the population in Catalonia. All this was met with the passivity of the Spanish and Catalan socialists, which did not dare to propose a timely reform of the post-dictatorship Spanish Constitution in order to solve the territorial tensions within the framework of the Spanish State.
In this context, the approach of the Catalan Greens (ICV) is twofold; firstly, they denounce the strategy of the ruling party in Catalonia to focus exclusively on the independence question so as to sweep under the carpet their terrible management of the government to date. ICV is emphasizing the catastrophic social and economic effects of the austerity both at the Catalan and Spanish levels.
They are denouncing that these measures took place given the recurrent agreements of conservatives CiU and PP both in the Catalan and the Spanish parliaments. Curiously, the current polarizing debate on the independence question is benefitting both parties, as it diverts attention from the socioeconomic debate.
On the other hand, the Catalan Greens have always supported the right to decide and placed self-determination as a core democratic value. Its exercise in this current context is no other than the celebration of a referendum with the participation of the whole Catalan population to determine the will of the majority on the relation the territory should have with the Spanish state. This approach is supported by the 75% of the Catalan population according to latest official polls, and should be therefore exercised as soon as possible. Nevertheless, it should be properly designed to encompass all the different approaches.