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Catalonia asks Rajoy for his alternative to region's referendum plan

Source: El Pais - Tue 29th Oct 2013
Catalonia asks Rajoy for his alternative to region's referendum plan

In a sign that it is willing to hold a serious dialogue, Catalonia on Tuesday publicly asked the National Partido Popular government of PM Mariano Rajoy to come up with an alternative proposal to the sovereignty referendum that is being planned by regional premier Artur Mas.

Since September, Mas's Catalan nationalist CiU bloc has been holding a series of behind-the-scenes meetings with Rajoy's advisors in an effort to diffuse the political crisis fueled by the regional leader's insistence on holding a referendum next year.

"There is a shared analysis that something must be done," said Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs. "In Catalonia, we have a solid proposal that was ratified by voters, which will take its own course if [the Rajoy government] refuses to enter into dialogue; I am sure that in the coming days they will come up with their own proposal."

The spokesman then added: "What is important is that there is a shared analysis."

Earlier in the day, the CiU spokesman in Congress, Josep Antoni Duran Lleida, acknowledged that his political grouping has been making contact with not only the PP but also the Socialists to find "answers" to the problem facing Catalonia.

"It is not that I am overly optimistic, but things are starting to roll," he told the SER radio network.

Nevertheless, he said that finding a common solution at this stage would be "difficult."

Duran Lleida said he had held a meeting with Rajoy several weeks ago.