2007 - 2021

Pro-Independence Parties Win the Catalan Elections

Catalan pro-independence forces have obtained 51,6% of support in Parliamentary elections. It is time for the international community to acknowledde the fact that Catalan people have earned their right to become an independent state. Jordi Oriola Folch reports from Barcelona for Bella.

For the third time in a row, the Catalan pro-independence movement has won an absolute majority in the Catalan elections. It has won resoundingly with 74 seats, more than the 68 that establishes the majority (in the previous elections it had won with 70). This time also with 51.22% of the votes, making it the majority among the voters. The elections were due next year, but they were brought forward because the Spanish courts overthrew Catalan President Joaquim Torra for having disobeyed an electoral board that ordered him to take down a banner criticising the imprisonment of Catalan politicians.

The President refused, citing freedom of expression, and the Spanish judiciary considered that the contempt was sufficient to force the removal of the President of the Parliament of Catalonia and cause the elections to be brought forward. Furthermore, after consulting experts on the pandemic, the provisional Catalan executive decided to postpone the elections for five months until the third wave of Covid-19 had subsided. However, yet again, the Spanish judiciary interfered forcing the elections to be held on 14thFebruary.

This is the same Spanish Justice that keeps 9 Catalan politicians and activists in prison, that has issued search and arrest warrants against 7 exiled Catalan politicians (which the German and Belgian courts rejected because they did not see the accusations as justified or because they understood that there were no guarantees of a fair trial in Spain), it is the same Spanish Justice that maintains the search and arrest warrant against a Majorcan musician –exiled in Belgium– for singing against the King of Spain and that is imminently going to imprison another Catalan musician, Pablo Hasel, for also having sung against the King. In this context, and despite having the entire state apparatus and the Spanish press against them, independence has won again, and has done so obtaining a larger absolute majority than ever and with over 51% of the votes.

In front of the pro-independence movement, we have the former Spanish socialist health minister during the pandemic, who has had the full support of the state, the press and unionism in general, and also the Spanish extreme-right of VOX, which has burst onto the Catalan Parliament with 11 seats. Given this scenario, the Spanish state and the European Union cannot deny the right of self-determination of Catalan society, which must be expressed in a referendum with democratic guarantees, transparency and without foul play. All in all, democracy is about allowing citizens to decide at the ballot box, not about violating their will with the application of laws that should in fact serve to guarantee there is a framework that respects what societies want for themselves.

Comments (7)

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  1. Gavin says:

    We must hope democracy can overcome the remnants of the fascist ( “bounty to the State”) mentality that still rules in Spain.
    All peoples are entitled to self-determination, and the EU is a disgrace for standing by while politicians are locked up for an act of democracy.
    What next? What is Spain’s way out of this?
    It’s obvious that the British far right would like nothing better than to emulateSpain, and lock up Scots for wishing to end the lop-sided Act of Union.

  2. Marga says:

    Great article, Jordi. Thanks.

  3. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    51% of a 51% turnout… That’s pretty overwhelming! About a quarter of the registered vote! Fins a la victòria sempre!

  4. ScotsCanuck says:

    Well done Catalans …. even under the Spanish Jackboot, you refuse to buckle …. *Salute*

  5. MacNaughton says:

    While acknowledging and recognizing the right of self-determination for Catalans, I would like to point out that it is neither as inherently progressive as people in Scotland automatically think it is, not without a number of very serious complications.

    Firstly, Catalonia is the richest part of Spain worth 20% of Spanish GDP. If Catalonia were to become independent, the rest of Spain would no longer be viable as it is currently constituted. Scotland accounts for about 10% of UK GDP by way of comparison. What would happen to the poorer South of Spain? It would become even poorer.

    Secondly Catalonia has no clear and unambiguous border like Scotland does with England. The CUP, one of the three indie parties, claim that Catalonia starts in the South of France and stretches down as far as Valencia, encompassing the historical Catalan speaking territories known as the Paisos Catalans. This means that, even if Catalonia as it currently stands were independent, the question would not be settled, it would merely relocate.

    It is also likely that, if Catalonia became independent, the Basque Country might do the same. The above mentioned points about Catalonia equally apply to the Basque Country, ie, that it is richer than the south and it’s borders are disputed even within the independence movement itself. Navarre for example….

    For all these reasons, I would always prefer Spain become a federal republic rather than break into various parts…

    1. Thanks MacNaughton – whilst their might be disagreement about constitutional settlement, would you agree that the gag law is repressive and the Spanish state police reactionary and authoritarian?

      1. MacNaughton says:

        Of course, the gag law is the work of Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular govt and it should be repealed in its entirety as Podemos are seeking to do. Policing in Spain has long been a problem, as has the politicized nature of the upper echelons of Spanish justice….

        It all leaves Spanish democracy in a very bad light….you might expect some sense of concern from the Spanish elites at the deplorable, shocking and baleful image their justice system is giving to the rest of democratic Europe, but far from it, all the focus is on attacking Podemos for supporting the protests and for pointing out that neither Spanish justice, nor heavy handed policing, not a corrupt king in exile are at all acceptable for a modem European democracy.

        Would you also support the North of Italy breaking away from the south which, if course, is poorer than the North too or is it just Catalonia?

        And how do you propose to achieve a binding referendum within the confines of the Constitution of 1978? Let me tell you, it can’t be done….

        The Catalans are far more likely to gain the right to self-determination by campaigning for a federal republic of Spain than by going it alone as they have done up till now. It might take ten years, but the Spanish monarchy has lost any legitimacy with so.many different corruption scandals and a federal republic like they have in Germany would solve many problems….

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