Pro-independence parties present election campaigns
ERC party highlights absent candidates still held in jail while Together for Catalonia ticket puts focus on Catalan president Puigdemont
The ERC republican party on Tuesday officially presented its candidates for the December 21 Catalan elections. However, most of the big names on the party ticket - Oriol Junqueras, Meritxell Serret, Toni Comín, Dolors Bassa, Carles Mundó and Raül Romeva - were not present as they are either in prison awaiting trial, or in exile in Belgium.
In fact, the second name on the ticket and ERC party secretary general, Marta Rovira, complained that other political parties have an advantage “because their political leaders are not in prison, because their political leaders are not under siege and because their leaders are not being persecuted.”
Rovira nevertheless thanked her colleagues for continuing “despite the imprisonments and despite the injustices,” adding: “The sovereignty movement in our country is a movement that contains a multitude of people who are convinced that this is the only alternative we have for building a better country.”
In the campaign group photo, Rovira held up a sign with the name of the main candidate on the party ticket, ERC head Oriol Junqueras, who is being held in custody. Catalan Parliament president, Carme Forcadell, who is the fourth candidate on the ticket, held up a sign with the name of jailed former minister, Raül Romeva, who is third on the list. Other candidates also held up signs with the names of imprisoned officials standing for ERC in the election.
'Puigdemont, our president'
Meanwhile, the Together for Catalonia candidacy headed by dismissed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, also presented its campaign on Tuesday, under the slogan 'Puigdemont, our president'. “It is a call from the streets that he is our president, not what they want to impose via article 155 through elections,” said campaign manager, Elsa Artadi.
Calling the election campaign “non-typical and difficult”, Artadi added that “this election is about Puigdemont versus Rajoy. About democracy versus 155." Puigdemont’s campaign manager also said that the December 21 election has to “restore democracy and Catalan institutions.”
Artadi also said that the Together for Catalonia campaign is to hold some electoral events jointly with the other pro-independence party, ERC. The first of these campaign events will take place in Brussels on December 7. Then, should the former Catalan ministers be released from prison, another campaign event is being planned. “It is not in our hands,” said Artadi, “It is an injustice but it is the reality,” she added.
Campaigns with a “lot in common”
The presentation of the Together for Catalonia campaign was not welcomed by the Catalunya en Comú-Podem (CatECP) party, which unveiled their campaign poster on Tuesday only to find that it looks very similar to that being used by the Puigdemont campaign. “It shows that when you have no ideas of you own, you have take those of others,” said CatECP’s main candidate, Xavier Domènech.
The Commons party presented its campaign poster in the Convent de Sant Agustí civic center, under the slogan: 'Tenim molt en comú' (We have a lot in common). Number two on the electoral list in Barcelona and one of the campaign managers, Elisenda Alamany, said the campaign slogan aims to be new and “turn the page” in “rejecting old blocs”. The candidacy has explicitly rejected being counted in both the pro-independence or unionist blocs.