• As independence debate heats up, Podemos backs away from Puigdemont plan
• Faced with stiff Madrid resistance, Catalan gov’t considers unilateral plebiscite
National anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can) said on Monday that it will definitely not support the holding of unilateral referendum for independence in Catalonia, distancing the party clearly from efforts spearheaded by Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont of the centre-right Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT, formerly Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya) and pro-independence allies Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Republican Left of Catalonia) to move forward with a regional plebiscite vote despite firm opposition from Spain’s central government in Madrid.
Podemos’ national leadership said Monday that while it continues to support the right of Catalans to decide their future, it does not believe the plan for a unilateral referendum conducted by the Catalan government in the face of stiff opposition from Madrid will serve to resolve the issue and therefore cannot accept it.
On Tuesday morning, the leader of the regional Podem Catalunya affiliate of Podemos in Catalonia, Albano-Dante Fachin, told reporters that regardless of what the Catalan government decided, he believes the Pacte Nacional pel Referendum (National Pact for a Referendum) formed by all parties and civil organizations favoring some kind of referendum on Catalan independence would continue to meet to debate the issue.
The national debate in Spain over the push for Catalan independence has heated up considerably in recent weeks, with the conservative Partido Popular (PP) government of President Mariano Rajoy flatly rejecting any type of regional independence referendum on the basis of a Constitutional prohibition in Spain against any such plebiscite vote. The nation’s highest courts have meanwhile warned Catalan authorities that they could be held liable for fines and jail sentences should they move forward with a referendum.