Junts and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), the two pro-independence parties with representation in Congress, took advantage this Thursday of the proposed resolutions of the General Policy Debate in the Catalan Parliament to send a message to Pedro Sánchez: if he wants to be sworn in as president The Government will have to “work to make the conditions for holding the referendum effective.” The two parties have agreed on this text, which will be put to a vote tomorrow in Parliament and which, for the moment, does not have enough votes to move forward, but which is a true declaration of intentions.
One of the great unknowns of the debate in the Catalan Chamber was whether, after days of hostility between the former partners of the Government, they would be able to agree on the resolutions on amnesty and self-determination. Both ERC and Junts each presented their own and have spent the day trying to reach a transaction, which has occurred in extremis. The new text that will be put to the vote tomorrow seeks for the Parliament to “reaffirm in the defense of the exercise of the right to self-determination” and “to speak out in favor of the Catalan political forces with representation in the Cortes not supporting an investiture.” of a future Government that does not commit to working to make the conditions for holding a referendum effective.”
The votes of Junts and ERC are essential for Sánchez’s investiture to go ahead. Since the elections of 23-J, socialists and Sumar have shown themselves willing to satisfy the demand for an amnesty for those accused of the procés, the other starting condition set by the independence parties, but they have rejected the demand for an independence referendum flat.
ERC and Junts do not clarify whether the condition they set for Sánchez to invest him would still stand in the event that the Parliament does not give him the go-ahead tomorrow, but from the outset it is a clear declaration of intentions. Last Tuesday, in the first session of the Debate in the Catalan Chamber, it was the president himself, Pere Aragonès, who put on the table the demand that in this legislature “the conditions be set” for an independence referendum, and he gave the approval of the amnesty is taken for granted. The statements did not sit well with Junts, whose parliamentary leader, Albert Batet, disgraced the Republican who spoke on their behalf. Now, however, both are coming together with the idea of putting the almost impossible demand on the list of requests for Sánchez.
The attempt by the independentistas to force a negotiation on a referendum has already been on the table on previous occasions, especially when the dialogue table between the Government and the Generalitat was launched. Both parties were in a certain way cornering and postponing the debate in order to continue talking. Even when announcing his conditions for this investiture, Carles Puigdemont himself, the former president who fled in Belgium and leader of Junts, had referred to self-determination, but without making maximalist approaches or making it a short-term requirement.
Regarding the amnesty, the negotiated text will receive the support of the CUP. THE text appeals to “the need for an amnesty law to annul what is classified as a criminal or administrative infraction, in relation to the defense in the exercise of the right to self-determination of Catalonia, and urges the Government of the Generalitat and the Catalan institutions to join the collective effort for the approval of this law and to proactively monitor its application immediately upon its approval.” The PSC, for its part, has ruled out supporting any text on the amnesty, considering that this is not the time or space for that debate, and has urged continued negotiation.
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