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"I don't know why it's news, what the Catalan Republican Left are asking for; we are in election pre-campaign", said the Spanish prime minister this Wednesday. It was Pedro Sánchez's way of belittling the proposal for a self-determination referendum presented by the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, when he was asked about the new plan for an independence consultation in a press conference in Qatar. "Nor will the position of the Spanish government or the general secretary of the PSOE be news", he added to reinforce his opposition to asking Catalans about their political future. For that reason, he considered that "praising the merits now of the first secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party is excessive". But he couldn't resist it: "If there is someone who can serve to unite Catalan society, his name is Salvador Illa".


Pedro Sánchez made these statements after some of his ministers had already locked and bolted the door to holding a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. This very Wednesday, Aragonès responded to the Spanish executive's refusal. "Tomorrow it will be a yes", said the leader of the Republican Left (ERC) list in the Catalan elections on May 12. "They always told us no and then they ended up saying yes", recalled the head of the Catalan government.

This Tuesday, Félix Bolaños responded to ERC senator Sara Bailac that "90% of the Catalan population wants the solution to the political conflict to be agreed and pacted". It was his way of opposing Aragonès's proposal for a referendum; which, in fact, is a plan for a referendum that is to be agreed with the Spanish state. Bolaños's team told that the statistic they quoted was based on the latest barometer published by Catalonia's Centre for Opinion Studies. But the truth is that the study did not say precisely that: it indicated that 20% of Catalans are in favour of unilateralism, and that the will to reach an agreed solution is higher among supporters of independence (33%) than in those who favour Spanish union (30%).

The first to react to Aragonès's proposal, on the part of the Spanish government, was spokeswoman Pilar Alegría, who closed the door to holding any self-determination referendum in Catalonia. The executive also framed the initiative in the campaign for the Catalan elections of May 12th. In fact, the Spanish education minister also referred to the president of the Generalitat as "candidate Aragonès". "On May 12th there are elections, and the various candidates make various proposals", she noted, adding that the idea of asking the Catalans about their political future "is not on the road map of concord" used by the Spanish government.

Full admission of Palestine to the UN and unification including East Jerusalem

On the other hand, in his joint press conference with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Spanish PM announced that he will support the entry of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations. "It's time to move from words to deeds, and that's why I'm asking for a peace conference and the unification of Palestine and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, under a revitalized Palestinian Authority," said the Spanish Socialist leader. He also recalled that Spain's intention is to recognize the Palestinian state in the coming months.