For and against the Catalan Republic
Passionate opinions from all sides were heard in Parliament before the vote that led to a declaration of independence
On Friday October 27 at 3.27pm the Parliament proclaimed the Catalan Republic, with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and two abstentions. Outside the Parliament building thousands of independence supporters welcomed the news with cheers and celebrations. Yet the debate in the Parliament that led to the lifting of the suspension on declaring independence was not welcomed by everyone.
Cs member Carlos Carrizosa, for example, began the debate by telling the Parliament: "Today is a sad, dramatic day in Catalonia. It's the day when a coup against our democracy will be perpetrated.” Carrizosa went on to pledge that "C's won't allow Spain to be broken up, to be divided and financially ruined," before he accused the pro-independence government of behaving in a "totalitarian way".
“You are destroying everything”
Catalan socialist Eva Granados also expressed her opposition to the intention of proclaiming the Republic, telling the pro-independence parties that "today you are destroying everything." "We don't want to decide,” said Granados, adding: "We won't participate in the vote. We'll leave the plenary session so as not be part of this huge mistake you are about to commit."
Meanwhile, the CSQP party through Marta Ribas added their disapproval, saying: "You don't have the democratic legitimacy to declare independence." Ribas did say, however, that her party rejected Article 155 as an attempt to "liquidate" Catalan autonomy. Yet, PP’s Alejandro Fernández suggested it was the pro-independence parties that were causing the most harm: "The damage you have caused to Catalan and Spanish society is terrible," he told President Puigdemont.
A Republic “from the bottom to the top”
The dissenting voices did little to discourage the pro-independence parties from going ahead with the vote. Carles Riera from the CUP party called the move “a historic step based on the legitimacy of the October 1 referendum,” adding: "It's the time of the people, we will build our Republic from the bottom to the top." Meanwhile, the governing JxSí coalition said there was no other option: "We don't have an alternative to independence due to Spain's inability to have an adult conversation,” said Marta Rovira.
As the time approached for the vote to take place, opposition MPs from the PP, C's and Socialist parties prepared to leave the chamber in protest. "You won't achieve this,” warned leader of the opposition, Inés Arrimadas, who added: “It's an attack not only on our institutions and Spanish democracy but also on the EU."
Declaration “criminal” says Rajoy
Despite the opposition’s misgivings, and despite the fact that Spain’s Constitutional Court will move to rule the declaration illegal, the parliamentary vote resulted in approval of a declaration: "We hereby constitute the Catalan Republic as an independent, sovereign, legal, democratic, socially-conscious state," it read. With the Madrid Senate simultaneously passing Article 155 to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy, and Spanish President Mariano Rajoy calling the declaration “criminal”, the issue of Catalonia’s independence has only just begun.