Leading Catalan parties agree self-rule referendum for 2014

The Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the center-right nationalist CiU group on Tuesday were close to a deal that will allow the CiU to form a stable government led by current premier Artur Mas, ERC sources said.

The CiU was the most voted party in regional elections held last month but failed to win the absolute majority it was seeking. ERC came second in the poll.

The speaker of the Catalan assembly, Núria de Gispert, said Tuesday that the investiture debate on the incoming government will be held as planned on Thursday and Friday, suggesting that CiU and ERC have managed to reach a pact.

In a meeting held Tuesday, the CiU and the ERC agreed to hold a referendum on self-rule for the region in 2014. Both sides had run their electoral campaign on an independence agenda. “The meeting went well,” an ERC source said. “We made a lot of progress. It will be a stable and strong government and it will guarantee clauses on the referendum as well as political, economic and social changes.”

Mas met with De Gispert for half-an-hour as part of the speaker’s round of meetings with elected political parties on the celebration of the investiture debate. Mas left the assembly building without confirming if the CiU had reached agreement with the ERC. He limited himself to saying that it was within the power of the speaker to call the debate.

The head of the CiU in the parliament, Or
iol Pujol, earlier Tuesday had said that he believed it possible to reach an agreement with the ERC later in the day. De Gispert also said she was confident the debate could be held this week.

The ERC’s leader, Oriol Junqueras, conveyed to De Gispert the ERC’s willingness to vote in favor of Mas as premier at the investiture debate and to reach an agreement that ensures the government’s stability.

Read @ El País