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How long should the mediation period suggested by Puigdemont take?

While President talked about “weeks”, far-left pro-independence CUP suggests one month as deadline

11 October 2017 12:53 PM

by

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

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What’s next on the roadmap of the Catalan government and parliament’s attempted steps towards independence? President Puigdemont suspended an independence declaration during his speech yesterday in order to give a final chance for dialogue with Madrid and international mediators. The plans to become a fully-fledged state are only temporarily on hold, though.

"In the coming weeks"

Puigdemont urged launching a dialogue “in the coming weeks.” The next deadline if Madrid continues to refuse to engage in talks is unclear, but some lawmakers think it shouldn’t be more than a month. The CUP, a far-left pro-independence minor yet essential party for the government to retain majority in Parliament, expected a declaration of independence without suspension on Tuesday.

“With whom should we mediate or negotiate?” asked spokeswoman Anna Gabriel in the parliamentary chamber. The CUP said in a press conference on Tuesday that the maximum mediation period should be one month. However, one of its spokespeople, Quim Arrufat, said on Wednesday that the party is “open” to agree on a longer period with the government if need be.

  • “With whom should we mediate or negotiate?”

    Anna Gabriel · CUP spokeswoman

“I find the period of 4 weeks very appropriate”

The other two parties supporting the Catalan government, PDeCAT and Esquerra, did not suggest any deadline. However, one senior Esquerra MP in the Spanish parliament, Joan Tardà, was in favor of the period that the CUP proposed. “I find the period of 4 weeks as suggested by the CUP very appropriate in order to make explicit possible mediations,” said Tardà in a tweet. The period would expire around November 9, a symbolic day in Catalonia.

On November 9, 2014, the country held an unofficial independence referendum which Spain tolerated. After that, though, the Spanish judiciary barred the former Catalan president Artur Mas and other organizers from office. Spain’s Court of Auditors has also ordered the organizers to pay a fine of five million euros.

Mediation period could fall apart

However, the mediation period could fall apart if the Spanish government decides to suspend Catalonia's autonomy. The Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, paved the way to enforce this extreme measure on Wednesday morning. The spokesman of the Catalan executive said also on Wednesday that in this event, “the republic will be proclaimed when the parliamentary groups decide to do so.” According to him, “there’s no need to wait for a few weeks” to see if Madrid is really ready to launch a negotiation. 

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