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Artur Mas i Gavarró

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This is a Catalan name. The first family name is Mas and the second is Gavarró.
Artur Mas
Artur Mas 2015 (cropped).jpg
President of Catalonia
In office
27 December 2010 – 10 January 2016
Vice President Joana Ortega (2010–2015)
Neus Munté (2015–2016)
Preceded by José Montilla
Succeeded by Carles Puigdemont
First Minister of Catalonia
In office
19 January 2001 – 20 December 2003
President Jordi Pujol
Preceded by Josep Tarradellas (1937)
Succeeded by Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira
Leader of the Opposition of Catalonia
In office
27 May 2004 – 23 December 2010
Preceded by Pasqual Maragall (2003)
Succeeded by Joaquim Nadal
Minister of Economy and Finance of Catalonia
In office
30 July 1997 – 17 January 2001
President Jordi Pujol
Preceded by Macià Alavedra
Succeeded by Francesc Homs
Minister of Town and Country Town and Public Works of Catalonia
In office
15 June 1995 – 30 July 1997
President Jordi Pujol
Preceded by Jaume Roma
Succeeded by Pere Macias
Personal details
Born Artur Mas i Gavarró
(1956-01-31) 31 January 1956 (age 60)
Barcelona, Spain
Political party Democratic Convergence of Catalonia
Spouse(s) Helena Rakosnik
Children Patricia
Alma mater University of Barcelona
Religion Catholicism[1]

Artur Mas i Gavarró (Catalan pronunciation: [ərˈtur ˈmas]; born 31 January 1956) is a politician of Catalonia. He was the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia from 2010 to 2016.[2] He is also the leader of the Catalan liberal nationalist party Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC).[3]

Mas is an economist who obtained his degree from the University of Barcelona, and is fluent in English and French, in addition to Catalan and Spanish. His ideology tends to be considered liberal from the economic point of view and increasingly supportive of Catalan independence. From the social point of view, he has mostly supported a moderate agenda in numerous issues, such as gay rights, but not same-sex marriage[4] and free debate on his party concerning abortion.[5]

In 2010 for the first time Mas indicated he would vote yes on a hypothetical referendum to secede from Spain. Since then, sovereignty and Catalan independence have become the central part of his political agenda.[6][7]

Early life

Mas was born in Barcelona as one of the four children of a wealthy industrialist family.[8] His mother was originally from Sabadell and his father from Poblenou. He studied at the Lycée Français de Barcelone (French language high school in Barcelona), and is thereby fluent in French, English, Catalan and Spanish. Later he graduated in Economics from the University of Barcelona and married Helena Rakòsnik.[9]


Before acquiring political responsibilities in Catalonia, Mas held different posts in both the private and public sectors, especially relating to the internationalization of Catalan enterprises. He was a member of the Barcelona City Council from 1987 to 1995, representing the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia.[10] His first high responsibilities in the Catalan government came during the presidency of Jordi Pujol, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya from 1980 to 2003. Artur Mas served as Catalan Minister of Public Works from 1995 to 1997, as Minister of Economy and Finance from 1997 to 2001, and Deputy Prime Minister (conseller en cap) from 2001 to 2003, as well as being the government's official spokesman from 2000 to 2003.[11]

Artur Mas ran for the 2003 elections to the Catalan government and won a plurality of seats in the parliament, with four more than PSC.[12] However, the latter obtained a slightly larger number of votes (this discrepancy between votes and seats obtained is explained by the electoral law and the way seats are assigned). Finally Pasqual Maragall i Mira was elected President, having forged a coalition with two other left-wing parties, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Initiative for Catalonia – Greens (ICV).

Mas ran again for president in the 2006 elections. Though his party CiU won these both in number of votes and seats[13]—unlike in the previous elections, it did not reach the absolute majority of seats in the parliament, allowing PSC's new candidate, José Montilla, to reach an absolute majority by repeating the coalition government with the same left-wing partners (ERC and ICV).

Mas talking to Oriol Pujol at Parliament in 2009
Mas in 2010

Since 2007, he has put special emphasis on initiating a process, known as the Refoundation of Catalanism (in Catalan, Refundació del catalanisme), to build upon the principles and values of the Catalanist movement, in order to enlarge the majority of society in Catalonia that expresses a nationalist feeling, and not merely inside his own party, CDC. The 'Refoundation of Catalanism' that Mas is actively leading calls for Catalonia to obtain the so-called 'Right to decide' on matters that affect it. This implicitly includes the possibility of putting independence from Spain to a hypothetical referendum. This point is significantly closer to the traditionally more separatist positions of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and has gained momentum since the issue of the verdict on the Catalan Statute—the Estatut—in July 2010 by the Spanish Constitutional Court, which invalidates certain parts of this law although they were backed by a large majority of Catalan voters by referendum back in 2006 (73.9 Yes, 20.7% No, 49.4% Turnout).[14][15]


The Catalan elections that took place on 28 November 2010 were to finally determine the political future of Mas, who was for the third time the Convergència i Unió candidate to the presidency of the country. During the campaign Mas had promised to put into place the government of 'the best' people, including the possibility of appointing ministers ('Consellers') from outside his political coalition, Convergència i Unió, if their talent justifies doing so.[16] Moreover, he also engaged in a process culminating in full powers over taxation for Catalonia—significantly reducing the so-called 'fiscal deficit' between Catalonia and Spain—by putting this issue to referendum to the Catalans and as a condition for giving any support to Spanish governments in Madrid after the Spanish elections scheduled for 2012.

Surveys had indicated that this time his party would obtain enough seats to govern without being heavily dependent on third parties and with no risk of a repetition of left-wing coalitions like those of 2003 and 2006. His party finally won 62 of the 135 seats in the Catalan Parliament, thus ensuring that Mas will head the next regional government as president of the Generalitat of Catalonia.[17] He was invested as president on 23 December 2010. In the investiture speech, Mas claimed a new funding model for Catalonia inspired by the Economic Agreement and proclaimed the Catalonia national transition based on the right to decide.[18]

Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras (Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Catalonia), signing the 2012–2016 governability agreement in December 2012

After the massive 2012 Catalan independence demonstration with an estimated number of participants at about 1.5 million according to Barcelona's Municipal Police and Catalonia's Department of the Interior,[19] Artur Mas declared in a speech to Parliament that it was time for the people of Catalonia to exercise the right of self-determination.[20] On 25 September 2012, Mas announced snap elections for the Parliament of Catalonia to be held on 25 November and argued, referring to the demonstration, that "the street vocal must be moved to the polls".[21] Parties defending Catalonia's independence from Spain obtained more than half the Catalan Parliament seats and significantly increased their votes, although Mas' party lost seats.[21] The "Agreement for Freedom" (2012–2016 governability agreement) was negotiated and accorded between Artur Mas (CiU) and Oriol Junqueras (ERC), the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Catalonia. Artur Mas was invested for the second time President of Catalonia on 21 December 2012[22] and 24 December he took up office at the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia.[23]

On 12 December 2013, Artur Mas, with leaders of five Catalan parliamentary parties, announced the date for the Catalan self-determination referendum, that was set for Sunday 9 November 2014 and contained a question with two sections: "Do you want Catalonia to become a State?" and "In case of an affirmative response, do you want this State to be independent?". In April 2014 the proposal was presented to the Spanish Parliament and it was defeated by a vote of 299–47. Mas, both before and after this vote has declared that the referendum will take place in a legal manner, but Spanish government promised to stop the vote through the application of national law.[24][25][26]

Mas intended to avoid prosecution by reducing it to a non-binding and purely symbolic vote, and staffing it with volunteers.[27][28] Despite these efforts the Spanish Central Government still deemed the vote as unconstitutional and thus illegal. Mas has been charged by the Spanish attorney general with perverting the course of justice, misuse of public funds and abuse of power, with regards to the role he assumed in the unofficial referendum.[29][30] Mas has been summoned to present himself in front of the high court on 15 October 2015. Mas faces a ban from holding public office of up to 10 years and one year of jail time.[31][32]

On 27 December 2015 an internal vote by the Popular Unity Candidacy on whether Mas would be allowed to continue in a leadership role ended in a tie, with 1,515 votes for and the same number against.[33]


  1. ^ Nagel 2015, p. 206.
  2. ^, "Artur Mas is elected as 129th President of the Generalitat with the abstention of the PSC"
  3. ^ Barcelona reporter, "ARTUR MAS, Party Leader: Convergència i Unió"
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ New York Times, 5 October 2012, Catalan Leader Boldly Grasps a Separatist Lever
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Artur Mas". (in Catalan). 
  10. ^ El Pais newspaper, "Artur Mas short biography" (in Spanish, 1996)
  11. ^ "Eleccions al Parlament 2012: Artur Mas i Gavarró". Regió 7 (in Catalan). 2012. 
  12. ^ New York Times, "Catalan Voters Lean Left"
  13. ^ New York Times, "Party Urging More Autonomy From Spain Seems to Win in Catalonia"
  14. ^ Veredict of Spanish Constitutional Court (Spanish)
  15. ^ "Els detalls de la sentència". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Catalan). 10 July 2010. 
  16. ^ TV3 (Catalan public TV channel), "Independents fill 'government of the best'"
  17. ^ "Mas pren possessió del càrrec de president amb una promesa de "plena fidelitat a Catalunya"". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Catalan). 27 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "Mas defensa una "transició nacional" de Catalunya basada en el dret a decidir". Europa Press-Avui (in Catalan). 20 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "400 kilometer Menschenkette für die Unabhängigkeit". Die Welt (in German). 11 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "It is time for the people Catalonia to exercise their right to self-determination" (in Catalan). Ara. 25 September 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Moffett, Matt (5 September 2013). "Catalan Separatists to Link for Independence Cause". Wall Street Journal. 
  22. ^ "Mas, investit a la primera amb els vots de CiU i ERC". Ara (in Catalan). 21 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "Presa de possessió del president de la Generalitat". Generalitat de Catalunya (in Catalan). 26 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Spanish parliament rejects Catalan Independence Vote". BBC. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  25. ^ Catalan President Mas: "The country's good sense has made it possible to come to a consensus and agree on an inclusive, clear question, which enjoys broad support", Government of Catalonia.
  26. ^ "Political parties announce date for vote on Catalonia independence". CNN. 12 December 2013. 
  27. ^ Kassam, A. (9 November 2014). Catalans vote in symbolic referendum on independence in defiance of Madrid. The Guardian.
  28. ^ Barcelona, Ashifa Kassam in. "Catalans vote in symbolic referendum on independence in defiance of Madrid". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  29. ^ Burgen, S. (21 November 2014). Catalan president faces multiple charges after independence referendum. The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2015, from
  30. ^ Barcelona, Stephen Burgen in. "Catalan president faces multiple charges after independence referendum". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  31. ^ Kassam, A. (29 September 2015). Catalan leader faces abuse of power claims. The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2015, from
  32. ^ Barcelona, Ashifa Kassam in. "Catalan leader faces abuse of power claims". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  33. ^ Minder, Raphael. "Tied Vote on Catalan Separatist Leader in Spain". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jaume Roma
Minister of Town and Country Town and Public Works of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Pere Macias
Preceded by
Macià Alavedra
Minister of Economy and Finance of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Francesc Homs
New office Government Spokesperson of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Joaquim Nadal
Title last held by
Josep Tarradellas
Prime Minister of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira
Title last held by
Pasqual Maragall
Leader of the Opposition of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Joaquim Nadal
Preceded by
José Montilla
President of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Carles Puigdemont
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jordi Pujol
President of Democratic Convergence of Catalonia
Preceded by
Pere Esteve
General Secretary of Democratic Convergence of Catalonia
Succeeded by
Oriol Pujol i Ferrusola
Preceded by
Jordi Pujol
President of Convergence and Union
Succeeded by
Party dissolved