BARCELONA – The president of Catalonia announced on Wednesday that he plans to hold a referendum on independence from Spain in Sept. 2017.
Carles Puigdemont spoke in the regional Parliament of Catalonia where he said a referendum was the only option, with or without the Spanish state’s approval.
“We are going all out for a referendum,” Puigdemont told regional lawmakers.
He said the best option was to agree to a referendum with the Spanish state, and said he was willing to collaborate with Spain’s central government, should it be willing to cooperate with Catalonia’s government.
Puigdemont said he was willing to negotiate the details of the referendum, such as the date, the question to be asked and the votes necessary to consider it valid.
But he insisted that, though the offer of dialogues will not expire, a lack of response from Spain’s government will not halt the referendum’s progress.
He expected that the Catalan government would have approved basic state structures by July 2017 and the region would then be ready to disconnect fully from Spain as soon as possible.
Puigdemont said his plan will be to ask Catalonia’s regional vice president Oriol Junqueras to ensure the referendum’s legality and financial viability.
The referendum will then be organized by Raul Romeva, who heads the region’s external relations department.
On Thursday, Puigdemont is due to submit himself to a vote of confidence in the regional parliament, which he is virtually guaranteed to win given he has received support from 102 pro-independence members of the Catalan Parliament.