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Elena calls for Saint George’s Day to be used to drum up support for referendum

The coordinator of Catalonia’s National Pact for the Referendum announced that they will be collecting signatures at "more than a thousand" stalls with 4,000 volunteers, twice the number originally expected

Aside from the books and the roses, this year the organisations associated with the National Pact for the Referendum (NPR) want to use Saint George’s Day [when Catalans traditionally exchange books and roses] as an opportunity to drum up support for the referendum. On Thursday, the Pact’s coordinator, Joan Ignasi Elena called for countrywide support on Sunday in defence of the vote going ahead. The groups belonging to the NPR have organized themselves so that there are "more than a thousand" stalls and 4,000 volunteers —twice the number originally expected— to collect signatures petitioning a referendum on independence. Elena declared himself to be "immensely satisfied" by the figures and thanked the participants and institutions for their efforts.

Elena chose to make his announcement, just three days before Saint George’s Day, at what he sees as a symbolic location, the Catalan headquarters of Comisiones Obreras [The Workers’ Commissions, one of the main trade union in Spain] in Barcelona’s Via Laietana. The organizers set up a stand to begin to distribute materials to volunteers in the lobby of the building. The slogan for the campaign is "A referendum: because it’s my right'. Throughout Saint George’s Day, anyone who wishes to join the Pact to support the referendum will have a chance to sign the petition.

Speaking to the media, Elena said that the right to decide is a "collective desire" and a "widespread" objective of the majority of Catalan society and, as such, it ought to be possible to satisfy such a demand. With this in mind, he stressed that both those who are against as well as those who are in favour of independence are being called upon to have their say, to debate and to participate in order to democratically decide Catalonia’s future status. Elena called for an end to the debate on "legalities", since, in his opinion, independence is a political issue that can be solved within the framework of the Constitution.

Elena stated that the organizers’ aim is to drum up “as much support as possible”, though they have not set a specific target. Nor have they counted up the number of adherents they have obtained so far. Although the NPR has been collecting signatures for several months, the plan is to begin to do so on a much larger scale between Saint George's Day and May 1, when trade unions and social organizations can also take advantage of Workers’ Day to collect signatures in support of the referendum.

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