Ciemen · The Catalan people has showed its dignity and impeccable democratic behaviour to the whole world


Daniel Turp is a professor in International Law, a prominent member of Parti Quebecois, adviser to domestic and international public institutions, and author of works related to the right of self-determination. He also was one of the moving spirits in Quebec’s 1995 referendum on independence. Turp was on November 9th in Barcelona as an international observer for Catalonia’s non-binding vote on independence.

At CIEMEN’s invitation, you were an international observer at the first popular, non-binding referendums on independence, starting in Arenys de Munt in 2009. You have since then come back to Catalonia several times. You have always had the opportunity to speak in public about issues related to the content of these popular votes. Which features, according to you, distinguish the Nov 9 vote from the previous referendums?

– This time, the call to the polls has been a general one, targeting all the people and all those who live in Catalonia. The call was directly made by the Catalan autonomous government (the Generalitat), with the support from several political parties. So far, popular non-binding votes had been organized in many municipalities, with the participation of volunteers who organized them, and with the connivance of local councils’ representatives. This time, even though volunteers played again an essential role, the political responsibility was directly assumed by the Generalitat. These differences signal the importance and significance of what happened last Sunday in Catalonia, in the face of the Catalan people and the whole world.

- However, the legal value of the Nov 9 vote has disappeared, thanks to the work of the Spanish government. The vote only had a political dimension. Does it mean the vote has been somewhat incomplete?

– Yes and no. It has been more than incomplete if we only regard it from a strictly legal point of view, because it was not what it should have been a referendum as we had in Quebec and as they recently had in Scotland. As regards its legal scope, the Spanish government has been successful in somehow melting the Catalan vote, which has lead it not to meet international standards. However, this does not mean that this “participatory process” had no value: it was the only possible way out in order to progress towards a real option -yet to come- to freely choose Catalonia’s future. People voted while knowing that the result would not immediately change the status of their collective life. But nonetheless, they knew too that the result would be a watershed. They believed that, if they voted for independence, Catalan politicians would receive a mandate to advance that choice. […]

Read @ Ciemen – Nationalia

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