How This Small Socialist Party May Ruin Hopes For Catalan Independence

By Domen Mohoric

Three months after regional elections in Catalonia, that were originally thought to have brought a major victory for secessionist parties and was interpreted as a sort of referendum on future independence, the wealthiest province of Spain will be going to polls for the fourth time in the last five years.

Cracks in the pro-independence camp have already showed before the elections, with the anti-capitalist group Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) although being pro-independence, strongly opposes reinstatement of the acting Catalan premier Artur Mas.

Mas is the leader of the rightwing, nationalistic Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and the nominal winner of the November elections.

Groups that make up the separatist block were able to acquire a majority in the 135 seat regional parliament but the Mas led coalition was still reliant on the CUP in order to stay in power.

Mas’ CDC will have to win a swing of 10 seats in order to make their own majority in the Catalan parliament in the fresh elections that are now expected to be held in March.

CUP rejects Mas as a premier candidate because of corruption allegations and what they feel to have been too deep cuts in social welfare, education and health services by the government in previous term.

CDC has refused to put forward a new nominee, rejecting CUP, who has proposed for a compromise on an alternative candidate.

The demands were harshly rejected, with Mas saying that CUP “didn’t understand that to turn Catalonia into an independent state it is necessary to add and not to subtract, voting rather than vetoing” and “Junts Pel Sí has moved on everything which mattered. CUP hasn’t moved on the only thing that wasn’t important: the ‘who’”.

CDC is defiantly standing behind Mas, although the current impasse will be a major roadblock on Catalonia’s planned 18 month secession process, which is already falling behind schedule and is being heavily contested by Spain’s rulers in Madrid.

Mas, who has at a time proclaimed that that he would step aside if he ever became “a problem” for the secession has announced that “On Monday I will sign the decree calling new elections.”

If the Catalan parliament doesn’t come up with some sort of 11th hour compromise, new elections will be called.

For Catalans this means that they’ll be going to the polls again sometime in March and will have to endure further months of political uncertainty.

This time however, the very future of a country may be at stake.


Cover Photo Credit: Núria/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Millennial Intelligencer: Catalonian and Spanish Leadership Clash Over Secession Plan

This past Monday, the Parliament of Catalonia approved a resolution formally calling for the creation of a Catalonian state independent from Spain.

Separatist MPs representing the Together for Yes (JPS) coalition and the anti-austerity Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), used their majority to pass legislation pledging a “disconnection from the Spanish state” in favor of the “beginning of the process toward the creation of an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic” as reported by the Guardian.

The measure passed in the parliament by a vote of 72-63. The measure calls for the creation of a framework for the formal independence of Catalonia by the year 2017.

On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy harshly criticized the separatist movement saying that the measure was an attack on Spanish Sovereignty and Democracy.

“We’re talking about the defense of an entire country,” Rajoy said. “They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history.”

The Spanish Government has called upon the Constitutional Court to suspend the separatist resolution while the measure is being studied, and has warned Catalonian leadership not to take any further steps towards secession according to the Associated Press.

A young boy holds the flag associated with Catalonian Independence. Photo Credit: Joan Sorolla/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A young boy holds the flag associated with Catalonian Independence. Photo Credit: Joan Sorolla/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The resolution passed by the Catalonian Parliament on Monday exempts regional officials from having to obey the Constitutional Court or other Spanish institutions. The measure also authorizes MPs to begin drafting a Catalan constitution as well as creating tax-collecting and social security systems within the region.

According to Spanish law; however, Catalan leadership who disregard a possible court order against the resolution could face charges of disobedience, punishable by removal from office for up to two years and heavy fines.

The issue of Catalan independence is hardly new. The modern Catalan Separatist movement was formed following the repression of Catalan culture and language during the regime of General Francisco Franco.

Catalonia enjoys the greatest level of self-governance that it has enjoyed since backing the Bourbon dynasty came to power three centuries ago, according to John Hopkins University.

Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain, representing nearly a fifth of Spain’s economic output. Initial polls show that the majority of Catalan’s support a referendum on independence, but are divided on the viability of an independent Catalan state.

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Cover Photo Credit: Andrew Crump/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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