Carme Forcadell will not continue as Parliament president
She faces charges carrying up to 30 years in prison for having allowed debates and votes over independence in the Catalan chamber
Carme Forcadell will not continue as Catalan Parliament president, the Catalan News Agency has learned. She has been in the post since October 2015 and was hesitant on whether she should vie for the post again on January 17, when the new term in the chamber starts. Forcadell was in the eye of the storm in the clash of wills between the Catalan and Spanish administrations in the past few months.
In a press conference held in the Parliament, she argued that "the current moment requires a person free of open judiciary cases". She is facing a criminal case for allowing debates on independence in Parliament, and claimed on Thursday that “the Spanish government has hatred to the word and dialogue.” Forcadell said she will stay as MP, “with a different responsibility”
Last September and October, she allowed the Catalan lawmakers to discuss and vote on several parliamentary initiatives regarding independence, including a text declaring Catalonia as an independent state. Shortly after that, she was accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds along with a number of pro-independence leaders. On November 9, the Spanish Supreme Court granted her freedom under a €150,000 bail, but she had to spend a night in prison before being able to pay the sum. Forcadell is still under investigation and, as well as other officials, has a trial pending and is facing charges that might carry 30 years in prison.
Forcadell, key actor in road to Catalan independence
She has been a major player in Catalan politics since the road to independence sped up in 2012. Back then, she was the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC in Catalan), one of the civil society organizations that has hosted the million-strong annual demonstrations for independence since then every September 11 (Catalonia's National Day). In 2015 she gave up this post and ran in the Catalan election for the Together for Yes candidacy, a mixed ticket with party officials and civil society leaders.
"The Spanish government has hatred to dialogue"
Carme Forcadell · Catalan Parliament president
Target of the Spanish prosecutor
She was appointed as Catalan Parliament president in October that year and greenlighted several controversial debates and votes in the chamber, including one on the launching of a Catalan constituent process and several on a referendum on independence. On October 27, she allowed the lawmakers to vote on declaring Catalonia as an independent state.
She has had four lawsuits filed against her by the Spanish prosecutor’s office, and was summoned to appear in several courts. Last September, when she received her third lawsuit, she said that was “the price to pay in order to defend the freedom of speech.” She also argued that she was sued because she had “allowed and facilitated debates, in order that everything can be discussed.”