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First Catalan Parliament with a pro-independence majority constituted

Catalonia constituted today the first Parliament with a pro-independence majority amongst its members. Number two of cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí' ('Together for Yes'), Carme Forcadell has been elected the 8th President of the Parliament (since the chamber was restored after Franco's dictatorship), and is the second woman to hold the charge, after her predecessor Núria de Gispert. "This 11th term of office, is the last from the autonomic period" stated Forcadell during her taking office speech and emphasised that the chamber will turn from a "regional limited Parliament" into a "national and sovereign" one. Forcadell, former president of Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grass-roots association responsible for the massive rallies on Catalonia's National Day in 2012, 2013 and 2014, obtained 77 votes from 'Junts Pel Sí', radical left pro-independence CUP and half of the members of alternative left coalition 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot'. 57 MPs voted blank and there was 1 invalid ballot.

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26 October 2015 03:11 PM

by

ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- The new Catalan Parliament started this Monday its 11th term of office, and the first with a majority of MPs supporting Catalonia's independence. Former president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and number two of pro-independence unitary list 'Junts Pel Sí', Carme Forcadell, was elected President of the chamber with 77 votes in favour, 57 blank and 1 invalid ballot. As expected, the pro-independence MPs from 'Junts Pel Sí' and radical left CUP supported Forcadell's candidacy and half of the alternative left coalition 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' in the end also voted in favour. "This 11th term of office is the last from the autonomic period" stated Forcadell during her taking office speech and emphasised that the chamber will turn from a "regional limited Parliament" into a "national and sovereign" one. The Parliament's Bureau is completed by the two vice-presidents, 'Junts Pel Sí' member Lluís Corominas and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans member José Maria Espejo Saavedra, and four secretaries, 'Junts Pel Sí' members Anna Simó and Ramona Barrufet, Catalan Socialist Party PSC member David Pérez and 'Catalunya Si que es Pot' member Joan Josep Nuet. 82 of the 135 MPs are making their debut in the chamber this term.


Former president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and number two of pro-independence unitary list 'Junts Pel Sí' Carme Forcadell has been elected the 8th President of the Parliament (since the chamber was restored after Franco's dictatorship), and is the second woman to hold the charge, after her predecessor Núria de Gispert. Forcadell obtained a greater majority than expected: 77 of the 135 MPs supported her candidacy. Apart from the 62 votes from 'Junts Pel Sí' and the 10 from CUP, 5 votes from alternative left coalition 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' also went to Forcadell's candidacy. 57 MPs from anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, Catalan People's Party (PPC), Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' returned blank ballots and there was one invalid ballot.

"This 11th term of office is the last from the autonomic period" stated Forcadell during her taking office speech. "We have to be aware that we are facing a foundational moment" she added "here and now we create a before and an after. From now on, we constitute a sovereign Parliament that aims to represent a free population". Forcadell emphasised that the chamber will turn from a "regional limited Parliament" into a "national and sovereign" one which will have "full attributions".

"This Parliament will be at the service of  all citizens, regardless of what they speak, where they come from, what they think or what they vote" she stated and highlighted that "Catalonia's diversity and plurality is represented in the Parliament and the Bureau has the obligation to allow these voices to express [themselves] equally and fairly". "This will be my commitment" she stated "and I'm sure that it will be the Bureau's commitment as well". Forcadell emphasised that the Parliament has to be an example of "austerity and transparency".

The new President also said that she didn't expect to be an MP but considered it proof of how "the way of understanding politics" has changed recently and the "exceptionality" of the current times. Forcadell also expressed her pride at being the second woman to hold this position and thanked her predecessor Núria de Gispert for her role.   

Parliament Bureau with a pro-independence majority

The Parliament's Bureau is the most important authority in the chamber. It is composed by the President, two vice-presidents and four secretaries. Although anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, alternative-left coalition 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot', Catalan Socialist Party PSC and Catalan People's Party PPC demanded that 'Junts Pel Sí' not have an absolute majority in the body, four of the seven members belong to the pro-independence cross-party list, including the President Carme Forcadell.

The two vice-presidents are 'Junts Pel Sí' member Lluís Corominas and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans' José Maria Espejo Saavedra. Regarding the four secretaries, those taking office are Anna Simó, from 'Junts Pel Sí', Catalan Socialist Party PSC member David Pérez, Joan Josep Nuet from 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' and 'Junts Pel Sí' member Ramona Barrufet.

The 135 MPs’ distribution to be confirmed

The 135 MPs, 62 from cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí', 25 from anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, 16 from Catalan Socialist Party PSC, 11 from alternative left coalition 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot', 11 from Catalan People's Party PPC and 10 from radical left pro-independence CUP today took their seats, although the definitive allocation of seats will be decided by the Parliament's Bureau at the first joint meeting. In the meanwhile, the members of 'Junts Pel Sí' and CUP (the parties supporting Catalonia's independence) have sat in the left side benches. Ciutadans and 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' are now on the right side, occupying those benches which are closer to the atrium. PPC and PSC are also on the right side benches but further from the atrium. Current Catalan President, Artur Mas, and the members of the Government will seat in the first bench.

Younger Parliament but with less women

The new Catalan Parliament is the first with a majority of MPs supporting Catalonia's independence, with 72 of the 135 MPs supporting this option. The average age is younger than in the last term. The youngest MPs are 'Junts Pel Sí' member Gerard Gómez del Moral and 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' member Joan Giner, both aged 26 and the oldest is CUP's Julià de Jòdar, who is 72 years old. The new Parliament is one of the newest ever, with 60% of MPs making their debut. Regarding the female presence, the number of representatives from this gender has dropped from55 in 2012 to 52 this term, with the chamber having one of the smallest parities in composition of the last years. 

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  • Catalan MPs applauding the Parliament's new President, Carme Forcadell (by ACN)

  • Catalan MPs applauding the Parliament's new President, Carme Forcadell (by ACN)