VALÈNCIA, 21 Sep. - Compromís and PSPV have urged the mayor of València, María José Catalá, to request a legal report on the official name change of the city to 'Valencia/Valéncia' before the motion approved by the PP and Vox is submitted to the plenary session, as they consider that the modification could be "illegal" as it is not endorsed by the regulations that govern Valencian, which is that of the Valencian Language Academy (AVL).
The spokespersons of both parties in the city council, Joan Ribó and Sandra Gómez, have stated this in a joint press conference where they have been supported by the majority of members from both groups. Ribó emphasized that "no matter how much Mrs. Catalá likes the accent in one way or another, that is not the problem" and Gómez considered that the mayor is "completely held hostage by Vox."
In this regard, the councilors have requested through a written statement that the Mayor's Office ask the Municipal Legal Advice for the issuance of an optional report on the approval of point four of the Information Commission for Social Welfare, Education, Culture and Sports of last Tuesday, in which this name change was approved "in accordance with the Norms of Puig, endorsed by the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture, Lo Rat Penat and other representative institutions of authentic Valencian culture."
Opposition groups, on the other hand, believe that the agreement "goes against" the Statute and the law creating the Valencian Language Academy, which establishes that it is this entity that has the competence to determine the official regulations of Valencian and establish the linguistically correct forms of the toponomy and official onomastics of the Valencian Community.
They have also indicated that article 41 of the Statute establishes that it is the AVL that has the function of determining and elaborating, if necessary, the linguistic regulations of Valencian. Therefore, they have asked the Municipal Legal Advice for an optional legal report on whether the change in the city's name to a "non-standard and anti-statutory" form contravenes the aforementioned provisions as a preliminary step to the discussion and vote in the plenary session.
Asked if he would accept the dual denomination with Valencian from the AVL, Joan Ribó pointed out that "normally, cities, people, have one name." "If it were a name that changes a lot, but here we are talking about putting an accent on one side or the other or not putting it."
"I think it is a solemn absurdity to talk about this, it is a willingness to create chaos over something that everyone knows, that València is València, and in Valencian it is said as it is said, like the AVL. That's it," he added.
He has also criticized that "it is possible to act in this way as the mayor of València, without taking into account at all how things have been done, how things have to be done, how the procedures have to be carried out, knowing that there are very clear rules, not only from the City Council, but also from the Statute itself and the Valencian Language Academy."
On the part of PSPV, Sandra Gómez has indicated that "before the vote is issued and pronounced, and before that resolution is voted on, we want people to have clear information and clear responsibilities for voting in favor of a resolution that may be manifestly illegal," and she has pointed out that "prevarication could be committed."
Asked about the possibility of supporting the dual denomination with Valencian from the AVL, Gómez has indicated that they were going to vote against it due to the "incoherence" of the PP with the names of other cities in other territories such as Galicia, where they have approved the name only in Galician.
However, she has stated that they are willing to discuss it if Catalá "backs down" from this "absurdity" which is "approving a name change for the city with a spelling mistake." Gómez expressed her "concern" because "today it is skipping the law and changing the official accent of the city, and tomorrow it could be such important things as being here in a minute of silence and omitting the banner that denies violence against women and many others that may come afterwards."
The agreement approved by the PP and Vox on Tuesday in the commission referred to the procedure established by Decree 69/2017 for the name change of the city, the regulations that govern these modifications.
The preamble to this same decree states that it also regulates "the criteria applicable to toponymy in the process of changing the denomination of municipalities and other local entities, which is important from the point of view of the standardization of Valencian toponymy and its adaptation to the consolidated regulations of the Valencian Language Academy."
"In accordance with the mandate of the Law on the use and teaching of Valencian, bilingual forms will be avoided, as they do not correspond to the historical or linguistic tradition of the peoples, and the endonymic form of the place name will be prioritized; that is, the Valencian denomination for municipalities in the Valencian-speaking area and the Spanish denomination for municipalities in the Spanish-speaking area," says the preamble.
Article 2 of the decree states that "municipalities may not use denominations that have not been authorized by the competent body of the Generalitat, in accordance with the regulatory procedures provided for in this decree."
The procedure itself, as governed by the decree, begins when the change is approved by an absolute majority in the municipality's plenary session. After this, the justificatory and technical reports must be obtained, where the proposed change must be adequately reasoned.
"For this purpose, the documentation necessary to be included in the file processed by the local entity must include a technical study, signed by a linguistic expert, in which the historical and linguistic foundations of the proposed name change of the municipality are detailed," the decree states. The municipality may request the assistance of the AVL for this report if deemed necessary.
The interested local entity will send the complete file processed to the department of the competent Consell in local administration matters. If the file does not contain the necessary documentation required by this decree, the local entity will be required to rectify the deficiency or provide the required documents within a period of 10 days, indicating that, if this is not done, it will be deemed as withdrawn.
Once it reaches the Generalitat, the general direction will request a report from the Valencian Language Academy (AVL), which "may propose alternatives that it considers more appropriate from a technical and historical perspective or warn if there are linguistic inaccuracies," and from the state Register of Local Entities, in case there is another municipality with an identical name. Both reports are mandatory and binding.
"In the event of an unfavorable report being issued by the Valencian Language Academy, it will be forwarded to the interested local entity for it to submit allegations within one month. The interested local entity will make the considerations it deems appropriate through a plenary agreement adopted by an absolute majority," it states. After this period, the AVL may issue another report, which will also be binding and mandatory.
Finally, it is the competence of the Consell to resolve the procedure for changing the name of the municipality by means of a decree. The act of approving the decree will conclude the administrative process.