Question set for 1 October Catalan vote: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?”

Puigdemont announces date, question.
Puigdemont announces date, question. Author: Govern de Catalunya
President of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont and deputy president Oriol Junqueras today announced that a referendum on independence from Spain will be held 1 October 2017, and has further said that the exact wording of the question will be “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?”. The announcement has immediately been welcomed by pro-independence parties and civil society associations. The Spanish government continues to argue that the vote is illegal and that it will not be allowed to take place.

The wording of the question follows the lines of a 2015 resolution passed by the pro-independence majority of the Catalan Parliament (that is big-tent alliance Junts pel Sí and democratic socialist CUP), which sought to launch a “process for the creation of an independent Catalan state, in the form of a republic.”

Puigdemont has given no details as to how the Catalan government will be able to implement the result in the case of a “yes” victory, vis a vis the staunch opposition faced from the Spanish government. Still, the Catalan president has argued that the result “will be a mandate that this government commits itself to implement.”

Puigdemont has further vowed to offer “all guarantees” for the “uprightness” of the calling of the referendum. The Catalan president has called on citizens to participate in the “exercise of an inalienable right upon which the edifice of democracy rests: the right of the people to freely decide the future of their country.”

The vote has been announced, but not officially called. The Catalan government plans to issue the official calling of the referendum at a later stage.

Main pro-independence civil society association Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has reacted to the announcement by saying that in the upcoming months, it will be important both to “defend democracy that [some] want to take away from us” and “to win a 'yes' majority that will lead us to an independent state.”

Opposition rejects announcement

All opposition parties in the Catalan Parliament —with the exception of pro-independence CUP— have rejected today's announcement. Opposition leader Inés Arrimadas (centre-right unionist Citizens' Party) says that Puigdemont had already promised to deliver independence by July 2017, and that he now goes back to 2014, when a non-binding vote on Catalan independence was held:

Left-wing alliance Catalonia Yes We Can (Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot, CSQP), while not opposing the referendum, has called on the Catalan government to discuss it in Parliament, and to make it clear what its rules, law, guarantees, or official recognition will be: