The President of Catalonia Calls For New Independence Referendum

Pere Aragonès

Pere Aragones is calling for a fresh referendum. Image: Twitter

The President of Catalonia has called for a new independence referendum as nine imprisoned Catalan leaders are released from jail.

Pere Aragones said the pardons are “an acknowledgment that the sentences were unfair” but added that it is now time for “amnesty and the right for self-determination”.

“It is time to put an end to the repression and have an agreed referendum, it is time for amnesty and self-determination, for dialogue, politics and negotiations to find a democratic solution that respects the wishes of the majority of the people of Catalonia,” he said on June 23.

He added that nine jailed separatists leave prison “with their heads held high and their ideas intact, and with the reinforced will to build a free and just Catalan republic, European and prosperous.”

Aragones will meet with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in La Moncloa on June 29.

According to the government the meeting is to resume dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.

At his inauguration on May 23, Aragones promised to make “self-determination inevitable.”

Earlier in May, Aragones told the regional parliament that he would “lead the social and economic reconstruction for the country” while continuing “the struggle for amnesty and self-determination.”

He was congratulated by the former Catalonian president, Carles Puigdemont, from his self-exile in Belgium after he declared the region’s independence following a referendum in 2017.

Aragones, 38, won 74 votes in the 135-seat regional assembly. His Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya party and the centre-right Junts agreed to maintain their coalition after months of political deadlock following inconclusive vote in regional elections held in February 2021.

The nine separatist who have received pardons and were released on June 23 are: former vice president Oriol Junqueras, former councillors Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa; the former president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell; and Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.