‘Huge leaps forward’ for independence made despite ‘mistakes’, says jailed vice president
In a letter to Esquerra Republicana members, Oriol Junqueras hints that party secretary general Marta Rovira might be the next Catalan president
The Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras, jailed by the Spanish National Court two weeks ago, is convinced that Catalonia has made “huge leaps forward” for independence in the past few months. He said that after the recent clash of wills with Spain, Catalonia is now “in Europe and on the world’s map”. For him, “the first step to getting recognition is that our reality become known, and in this sense, we’ve achieved a great success.” However, he did criticize himself by admitting some “mistakes” made by the Catalan government.
“It was naïve to think that the Spanish State would not dare to apply these levels of repression,” Junqueras said. “Or that the European Union would not tolerate that Spain’s People’s Party government, in the name of the Spanish unity, would deal so many blows against the Catalan citizens and institutions.” However, he thinks that it was Brussels who “obligated” Spain to call elections as early as December 21, and therefore not undertaking a long and complete takeover of Catalan self-rule.
"It was naïve to think that the Spanish State would not dare to apply these levels of repression"
Oriol Junqueras · Catalan vice president
Marta Rovira, the first female Catalan president?
While being jailed in a prison in the Madrid region, Junqueras is leading Esquerra Republicana’s (ERC) electoral list from jail. He might be no longer held in custody in the coming weeks if the Spanish Supreme Court takes over his judicial case and lifts the cautionary measures ordered by the Spanish National Court. Yet, there is also a possibility that he stays in prison and his party wins the December 21 election. In that event, according to his letter, ERC secretary general, Marta Rovira, might become president of the Catalan government. She would be the first woman to have ever held the post in the 650-year long history of the institution.
'Puigdemont is also our candidate'
Esquerra Republicana has been part of a coalition led by President Puigdemont’s party for the last two years. This time the two parties will run in the election separately. Yet, in his letter, Junqueras expressed his support for Puigdemont, now in Belgium. “We want to state clearly that our candidate is also the legitimate president, Carles Puigdemont, and the whole government, both the ones who are in Brussels and the ones in prison.” Puigdemont is in Brussels with four ministers, while the other eight are in two Spanish prisons.