SCOTLAND’s 2014 independence referendum was held up as an example in Catalonia yesterday when Pere Aragones marked tackling the coronavirus pandemic and working towards a Catalan Republic as two of his major tasks as the new president.

Aragones told the Catalan Parliament – where he is expected to be confirmed as president today – that they had a lot of work to do after coalition talks stalled between his Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (Junts).

He said he wanted Spain to agree to a self-determination referendum and to “shake up” Catalonia with a progressive, left-wing programme of legislation.

“For the first time in the 21st century, Catalonia will have a pro-independence and left-wing president,” said Aragones.

“On one hand we will defeat the Covid that [has cost] so many people and we will take the country out of the crisis.

“And with the other we will advance towards the Catalan Republic.

“I want to do what Scotland did and have Spain do what the UK did in 2014.

“Scotland will succeed and will be able to vote again and the UK will do everything in its hands to convince voters to vote remain.

“This is possible in the UK and has to be possible in Spain.”

READ MORE: Catalonia's two main pro-independence parties form coalition government

Aragones said Unionists should persuade the public to vote for No rather than stop a vote altogether, and insisted: “The solution is amnesty and self-determination. The only limit we must set is that of the popular will of the citizens of Catalonia.

“This is my obsession. Overcoming the current blockade and resolving once and for all the conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

“It is urgent and imperative to change the dynamic … so independence can recover the initiative.”

Aragones said that to achieve this he would push for a “national agreement for self-determination and amnesty”, as well as a peaceful confrontation to force the Spanish state to confront the reality that it had so far denied.

Aside from a desire for an agreed referendum, Aragones set out three other priorities for his incoming Cabinet – green policies, feminism and social equality.

Although he has been interim president since the March election, Aragones’s latest bid for the presidency was being debated last night, and is expected to be accepted by MPs by tonight.

Meanwhile, the Socialists in the Parliament have criticised the speech from the interim president.

Salvador Illa, the former Spanish health minister who now leads the Catalan Socialists, accused Aragones of frustrating people by making promises that could not be attained.

He added: “We all know Catalonia will never be independent.”