After Historic Election, America’s Catalans Demand Democratic Mandate For Referendum Be Respected
The Catalan Institute of America urges all sides, as well as the international community, to embrace the election results and initiate a process of political dialogue to address the aspirations expressed democratically by the People of Catalonia.
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Nov. 25, 2012 - PRLog -- In an election widely labeled as a vote on Catalan sovereignty, pro-referendum parties (CiU, ERC, ICV, CUP) obtained a robust victory by a 2 to 1 margin. This vote comes less than three months after a massive pro-independence rally in Barcelona on Sept. 11 attracted more than 1.5 million people, one of Europe’s largest demonstrations ever. The Catalan Institute of America urges all sides, as well as the international community, to embrace the election results and initiate a process of political dialogue to address the aspirations expressed democratically by the People of Catalonia.
Catalans in the United States have followed this process with unprecedented enthusiasm. In Manhattan, the Catalan Institute of America organized an election night viewing event at a Midtown restaurant, and was overwhelmed by the attendance and interest. “The energy we have witnessed in the last few months is truly unprecedented,” says Jaume Soler, President of the Catalan Institute, “the Catalan community here in the tri-state area has never been so engaged with the political process in Catalonia.”
On the other hand, frustration at Spain’s overseas voting system and a sense of disenfranchisement were also evident in the Catalan community here in the United States. Onerous requirements under Spain’s new overseas voting law, as well as unacceptable delays in mailing the necessary forms by the Spanish Central Board of Elections have effectively prevented most Catalans residing here from exercising their right to vote. Protests from Catalan-American groups such as the Catalan Institute, as well as pressure from the Catalan Government forced Spain’s Central Board of Elections to grant a one day extension to the voting deadline for Catalans in the U.S. However, absentee ballots never arrived for over 98% of the eligible voters consulted by the Catalan Institute of America, leaving them effectively disenfranchised in the most important election in their lifetime.