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Catalan government refuses to call early elections. "The objective is to go ahead with the referendum"

Munté declares that being open to a negotiated referendum is compatible with proceeding with the arrangements in case no agreement is reached

The Catalan government closed the door on the suggestion from En Comú Podem’s leader, Xavier Domenech to hold early elections as a means to resolve the current situation in Catalonia. This Tuesday, the Minister of the Presidency and Government Spokeswoman Neus Munté dismissed the proposal, arguing that the government is unable to ignore the will of 80% of Catalans in favour of holding a referendum. She added that during the summit on the referendum -in which Domenech’s party participated- there was no mention of holding an election.

Speaking shortly after the first cabinet meeting of 2017, Munté declared that the summit resulted in a clear majority in favour of Catalonia working towards a negotiated referendum and that the Catalan government was working towards this goal, while nonetheless maintaining "its unequivocal commitment to holding a referendum in 2017" if no agreement is reached.

According to Munté, it is possible to be open to dialogue while continuing to make all the necessary arrangements for holding a referendum. She stated that "We remain true to our offer of dialogue, without this implying that we are sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring", while expressing her disagreement with recent statements made by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in which he rejected the referendum and bilateral negotiations on funding.

"On one hand, he continues to speak about dialogue, while on the other refusing to address any political demands arising from Catalonia", Munté criticized, adding that tomorrow's meeting between the Minister of Public Works Íñigo de la Serna, and the ministers Josep Rull and Meritxell Borràs, will serve to demonstrate to what extent "the offer of dialogue is genuine and sincere, or, as has been the case so far, it is lacking in detail and full of contradictions".

Puigdemont and Politico’s list

Munté also mentioned the fact that an opinion piece in Politico’s European edition lists the President of the Catalan Government Carles Puigdemont as one of the 12 individuals who might "ruin" 2017. The government spokesperson, who did not wish to comment on the contents of the article, citing journalistic licence, did say, however, that it contradicts itself by branding the independence process as "insignificant" while at the same time placing it on the international map by including it as one of the major events of 2017.

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