The compass that marks the path of the Catalan independence movement tinkles looking north, on the eve of Catalonia’s Day. The negotiations between Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana for the inauguration of the President of the Government have silenced this year the traditional epic demands for unity, perseverance and firmness that served to warm the atmosphere in the run-up to the crowded citizen demonstration that is called every 11 of September. In their fight to dominate the pro-independence playing field, ERC and Junts reserve for rhetoric and the showcase of the rallies the idea of a common and robust front with which to claim gains for Catalonia in Madrid or give some continuity to what the processes.
In the preambles of the investiture, Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras have designed very similar requests, but their emissaries face the meetings with the negotiators of the progressive coalition with the same premise: better alone than in bad company. Meanwhile, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the civil entity with the most mobilizing capacity, attacks both parties and demands that they agree to “activate” independence and “not to vote for Spanish presidents of the repressive state.”
The elections of 23-J subtracted deputies from Junts and Esquerra in Congress, but the 14 seats that both formations have, seven for each, are decisive in slamming the door of the PP and Vox alliance and tipping the balance in favor of a re-election of Pedro Sánchez. The situation is conducive to delivering a good handful of goals to whoever knows how to negotiate best, but it also threatens to stigmatize the image that Junts and ERC try to cultivate within the independence movement, and which consists of marking distances, at least in public, with any wink of complicity with the Government and its representatives. Behind the gestures lies the interest in appearing as the purest representative of independence, to stand up to the rise of the PSC in Catalonia.
The ANC warns these days that the independence mandate requires “not to reach any agreement with the Spanish institutions” and calls to “take advantage” of the situation of “weakness” that causes the current uncertainty in Congress to “make effective the declaration of independence that It has been frozen since October 2017.” Òmnium Cultural, the other Catalan entity with strong roots, distances itself from the fundamentalist fanfare of the ANC, but addresses 9/11 with the idea of ”going out to show the world that the political conflict between Catalonia and the State continues alive”, in the words of the president, Xavier Antich. The noise of the Diada impacts the negotiations between Junts and ERC for the investiture. In the command posts of the two main political options of Catalan separatism, since the CUP has shrunk to irrelevance, the idea is assumed that rebuffing the rival’s successes is as important as making profitable one’s own achievements.
Carles Puigdemont, who does not hold any organic position in Junts but commands the negotiating strategy with the PSOE and Sumar, stressed in his conference on Monday that if the conditions set by Junts for Sánchez’s re-election are accepted, a “historic agreement will have been reached ”. Puigdemont, a fugitive from Spanish justice for almost six years, asks that the State respect “the democratic legitimacy” of the independence movement; that a “mediation and verification mechanism” be created to guarantee compliance with the agreements; that there be a “complete and effective abandonment of the judicial process against the independence movement” and that the “only limits” to any agreement be those established by the “international treaties that refer to human rights”, that is, that the limit It’s not the Constitution.
Esquerra tries to reduce the heroic nature of the claims by Junts and Puigdemont, pointing out that the de-judicialization of the process, through an amnesty law, is an ordinary claim of the independence movement. The Republicans argue that, from the outset, the negotiation with the PSOE during the last legislature led to pardons for those convicted of organizing the 1-O referendum and the modification of the Penal Code. “I can’t do anything other than show satisfaction, underline the coincidence and highlight the obvious: if we agree and also coordinate, we will have more strength,” replied Pere Aragonès, to the words of Puigdemont. The Government spokesperson assessed that the objectives set by the Junts MEP are “almost identical” to those set by the Generalitat to understand Sánchez. The ERC spokesperson, Marta Vilalta, has gone a little further, applauding that Junts finally opted for the negotiating path with the Government “after four years of criticism and putting sticks in the wheels.”
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