‘The 9N political initiative was mine’

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Politics

Trial by the 9N

Agencies | Drafting

The former Catalan president assumes responsibility for “the idea of ​​the participation process” and stresses that the volunteers “were key.”

1:50

For the first time in the history of Catalonia, a former president of the Generalitat sat on the dock this Monday for the 9N trial. For 50 minutes, Artur Mas has explained, responding only to the questions of his lawyer, Xavier Melero, what happened before and after the participatory process of 2014.

The trial at the TSJC began at 09:50 hours – it was scheduled at 09:00 -, with Artur Mas and the former councilors Joana Ortega e Irene Rigau sitting on the bench for alleged disobedience to the TC by the 9N. The Prosecutor’s Office asks for 10 years of disqualification for Mas -and nine for Ortega and Rigau-, a penalty that the popular accusation exercised by the police unions SPP and UFP and Manos Limpias asks to increase to 12 years and that, in both cases, would prevent the Defendants hold any public office during the sentence.

The three have arrived at the Palace of Justice supported by President Carles Puigdemont – “Today many of us feel judged,” he said minutes before – and by members of the Government, as well as by sovereign entities, elected officials and some 16,000 people.

But, who has refused to answer the questions of the prosecutor and the private prosecution, has assumed all the “political initiative” in the organization of the 9N, a vote that has ensured that it was not “a personal whim or a departure from tone “but the fulfillment of a “explicit mandate of Parliament”.

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“I want to make it clear that the guidelines came from the presidency of the Generalitat and from myself, the other members of the Government they followed these guidelinesThat affects Joana Ortega, Irene Rigau and Francesc Homs. The former Catalan president recalled that the initiative to promote the 9N had “clear deep roots, and strictly democratic.”

Artur Mas 9N A9 trial trial EFE

But, between Rigau and Ortega, minutes before starting his statement. EFE

“No one warned us”

The former president of the Generalitat has alleged that the Constitutional Court did not warn the Catalan government of the responsibilities it would incur in maintaining the 9N, nor did it respond to requests for clarification sent by the Generalitat. “Nobody asked us, nobody warned us, we only received one communication,” said Artur Mas.

Asked if the 9N had knowledge of the complaints that were being presented against the vote, Mas has affirmed that he did know, as the day progressed, and has asked himself: “If it was so obvious that this was a crime, or more than one, how can it be that the Constitutional Court do nothing to enforce his resolution or providence? “

The president of the rostrum, Jesús María Barrientos, intervened immediately and asked Mas to limit himself to answering the questions, not asking them. The former president has replied with an affirmation: “The Constitutional Court in no case did anything at all to make that notification be obeyed.”

The former president of the Generalitat has admitted that the Catalan government modified the “format” of the consultation after the suspension of the TC, “it no longer had the capacity by itself to carry out the participatory process”

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As he has said, above all they wanted to do “something serious and understood throughout the world”, and that, faced with a highly complex organizational and logistical process, either many people signed up or it could not have been carried out. Thus, it has said that in no case could the consultation have been carried out “without the participation of the 42,000 volunteers“. These people, whom he has thanked for their collaboration,” were an essential element and key piece of the organization of the 9N “and without them it would have been materially impossible, in his words.

“It was not a query to have legal ties, just to know the opinion of the people“, added the former president, after lamenting the unsuccessful attempts of the Government to reach an” agreement “with the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to ask the Catalans about their future.

But he has also underlined in his statement the “ridicule, contempt and mockery” with which the central government referred to the 9N consultation in the days prior to the consultation: “It was considered a secondary, minor, inconsequential thing.”

Artur Mas trial trial A9 9N EFE

View of a screen in the press room during Mas’s statement. EFE

Ortega: ‘Volunteers were the lifeblood of the process “

After the statement of former Catalan president Artur Mas, it is the turn of the former vice president of the Government Joana Ortega, who has delved into the arguments offered by Mas.

Thus, it has alleged that the “more than 40,000 volunteers” were the “soul” of the participatory process of 9N 2014 and it was they who “made possible” the participatory process, and not the Generalitat, which had left it “in their hands. “from days before.

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According to Ortega, “listening to the people, to the people,” can never be “never a criminal act and even less a criminal act.”

The former vice president has stressed that in those days she did not receive any direct request from the Constitutional Court and has warned that the Government was not clear about “what was the scope or the effects” of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on 9N.

Artur Mas Joana Ortega Irene Rigau 9N A9 after the trial EFE

The three defendants, upon leaving the TSJC. EFE

Rigau: “A movement with volunteers is not done with coercion”

The former Minister of Education, Irene Rigau, has denied that they pressured the directors of institutes to open the doors of the centers for the 9N vote and has assured that in no case is she aware of having disobeyed the Constitutional Court, because she did not receive any warning.

Responding only to questions from his lawyer, Jordi Pina, Rigau has denied pressure: “It would have been a contradiction, because a movement with volunteers is not made with coercion.” The councilor has acknowledged that informational meetings were held with some directors of the Barcelona area and has said that they had a single problem with the IES Pedraforca de L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona), whose director refused to give up the center. According to Rigau, the director of this institute raised requests that “went further”, so they decided to “do without this center” and looked for another location.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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