PSOE to move ahead without Rajoy on Catalan question

PSOE President Cristina Narbona speaking to reporters Monday. Photo: EFE via Público

• Socialists slated to meet in Barcelona to discuss measures to avert crisis
• PSOE to introduce Constitutional reform measures, other initiatives right away

Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE) announced Monday that it intends to move ahead quickly with introduction of political initiatives in Congress designed to diminish the chances of direct confrontation between Spain’s central government and Catalan regional authorities over plans to hold an independence referendum in Catalonia on 1st October, in violation of Spain’s Constitution.

Socialist party President Cristina Narbona told news reporters Monday that the executive committee of the PSOE will meet in Barcelona on Friday with the executive committee of its Catalan affiliate, the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC, or “Party of Catalan Socialists”), to compile a list of parliamentary legislation, some of which Narbona said will be registered in July for subsequent debate when Congress returns for full plenary sessions in September.

In a meeting last Thursday with Spanish President Mariano Rajoy of the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP), recently re-elected PSOE Secretary General Pedro Sánchez said he expressed his party’s position that the Socialists do not support the Catalan independence referendum because of its violation of the Spanish Constitution. He also confirmed that as a last resort, the Socialists would support the Rajoy government’s legal efforts to stop the referendum vote.

But in a televised interview with Telecinco following the two leaders’ meeting, Sánchez also reiterated the PSOE’s position that a “political solution” was preferable to legal action in resolving the Catalan crisis and that if Rajoy failed to take immediate action to seek a political settlement to the Catalan referendum issue, then the PSOE would move ahead with introduction of its own initiatives aimed at defusing the situation prior to the announced 1st of October date for the independence vote.

PSOE President Narbona did not outline the initiatives to be discussed among the Socialists in Barcelona on Friday, but did tell reporters that they would reflect the PSOE’s desire to open up a “political space to discuss the reform of the Constitution” in Congress that would redefine the federal nature of Spain’s Constitution. Narbona suggested a reform along the lines of the German or Belgian constitutions, which would allow for greater autonomy and recognition within Spain’s constitutional framework for Catalonia and other regions within Spain.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo, El País and Público …

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