Over past two months, since the regional elections in Catalonia, and the narrative of the push for independence has taken a turn towards the most deluded surrealism. The same surrealism so loved in the art of an illustrious Catalan, Salvador Dali, but in this case it is driving the Catalan region to the point of no return.
The recent election saw Catalonia’s three secessionist parties secure a combined 70 seats in the regional parliament, two more than the 68 required for a majority in their 135-seat assembly. It was not a clear victory; if a victory at all as the unionist Ciudadanos party, was by far the most voted for party with 1.1 million votes (25.37%) compared to its nearest rival Junts per Catalunya, who won 940,000 seats (21.65%). However all the anti-independence parties (Ciudadanos, Popular Party and Socialists) together could not make up the required 68 seats.
After the recent demonstrations in Catalonia, one may think any ruling party would plan a new route that will lead them eventually to independence. Independence as a unilateral project has already failed and it will fail again, the Spanish state has demonstrated that it is able to stop independence, the EU fails to recognise the new state. It’s citizens who are living divided and fractured are growing both tired and weary.
It does come as a shock though that Carles Puigdemont will be the only candidate to be elected as the Catalan president, the same Carles who is currently in self-exile after failing to deliver independence for his homeland. Let’s not forget that Puigdemont fled Spain because he is facing trial for the serious charges of rebellion and sedition, whilst several of his former parliamentary colleagues are still in prison. However lets not forget that these charges have landed on Puigdemont’s lap for fulfilling a democratic mandate. He hasn’t shown any signs that he will respect the law and has taking no responsibility at all for his actions which caused Catalonia lose its self-government powers. “Between a prisoner and a president, I would rather be a president, because at least now I can get things done, but in prison I wouldn’t be able to,” he said recently in an interview with Catalunya Radio.
Catalan parliamentary lawyers have issued a report stating that chamber bylaws forbid remote appointments, as the candidate needs to be physically present at debate, but Mr Puigdemont keeps building up his international image to portray a martyr scorned by the Spanish government. He seriously believes he can run a country via Facetime from Brussels.
It is extremely worrying that no one in the secessionist camp can see how much damage Mr Puigdemont will inflict on their region if he get to be its president once more. First he needs to find a way to be a premier in exile, and if he manages to do so Madrid’s immediate answer will be to prolong its control over the Catalan region indefinitely.
The pursuit for a Catalan Republic is very valid but in their eagerness they have forgotten the other half of the country, those who are content with being both, Spanish and Catalan. A new tactic is needed. New blood. A push to try at least to re shape the Spanish nation into a more federal scenario where ideally Catalans of all creeds will be happy to live in.
Political forces in Span have been discussing, for a while, how to renovate the Spanish constitution, and have made their intention to include Catalan well known.