Catalonia's president says Madrid must change attitude

Catalan President Artur Mas says Madrid has to change attitude in order to make progress in talks as Spain’s prime minister says negotiations must be ‘within the law’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Catalan President, Artur Mas during a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, September 28, 2015.

Updated Sep 29, 2015

Catalonia’s President, Artur Mas says Madrid must change its attitude in order to make progress in negotiations, after the separatist coalition won majority of the seats in the regional elections on Monday.

The main secessionist group “Junts pel Si, [Together for Yes]" party won 62 seats, while the remaining 10 seats went to the leftist CUP party. 

Ahead of the elections, the two parties supporting separation from Spain had said that a victory in the regional elections would allow them to declare the independence of Catalonia in the next 18 months.

Speaking at a press conference, Mas said they have always been open to dialogue.

“No one wanted to talk about anything. That is the reality. So if they want to talk, then they have to change their attitude. And they have a reason to change their attitude now," he said.

Mas also said he is still the main candidate to become president for Junts Pel Si, as CUP’s leader repeated they would not support him.

"We have made it clear that we would not swear him (Artur Mas) in. I don't know if we said it today, but we will not vote for him," said the group's leader, Antonio Banos.

CUP is known for criticising Mas, who had lead Spain's spending cuts and austerity measures throughout the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy said on Monday he is ready to cooperate and discuss a wide range of issues with the next Catalan government as long as it is “within the law”.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures during a press conference at Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, September 28, 2015.

"I am ready to listen but I am not ready to get rid of the law," the prime minister told journalists at a press conference.

Rajoy’s centre-right government has refused to hold a referendum on secession, as they described the plan as "nonsense" and vowed to take legal action.

In Spain, the secession of a region is against the constitution.       

"I want to send Catalans, Spaniards in general and all those who, from outside Spain, have expressed interest in these elections, a message of calm. Supporters of a break-away never had the support of the law and, since yesterday, we also know that they don't have the support of the majority of Catalan society,” Rajoy said.

Although the independence plan includes an approval of Catalonia's own constitution, central banking system, judicial system and army, opinion polls suggest most Catalans would like to remain within Spain if offered an improved tax regime as well as laws that will better preserve Catalan language and culture.

While political uncertainty remains in Spain, Monday’s election results are believed to reflect the national elections in December.


TRTWorld and agencies