Puigdemont and Torra to promote new political movement
Unionist Ciutadans says it is a move to hide "corruption," while pro-independence parties take sides
The former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his successor Quim Torra will present a new political movement called 'Crida Nacional per la República' (National Call for the Republic) on Monday evening.
This is an attempt to develop the candidacy Puigdemont put forward last autumn for the December 2017 election, Junts per Catalunya, and it might include a call for pro-independence parties to join.
The new movement is expected to especially focus on PDeCAT, the party which supported Puigdemont's ticket last year.
PDeCAT took up the mantle of the now-inactive CDC party, which held sway over Catalonia for almost thirty years since the 1980s in coalition with Unió force. The CDC is part of the ALDE liberal group in the European Parliament.
Puigdemont's move relationship with PDeCAT
How or whether Puigdemont's movement and the PDeCAT party will join forces is one of the main unresolved questions.
PDeCAT is to hold a congress this weekend when the issue might be discussed. Its management is expected to the decision to its members' hands.
This crucial decision is to be made ahead of the local elections on May 2019, during which it still remains to be seen whether there will be separate or joint tickets of both PDeCAT and Crida Nacional per la República.
Junts per Catalunya and PDeCAT have a similar political stance, with the second one usually taking a more moderate approach when it comes to the independence debate.
ERC rejects joining move
What does seem certain is that the other mainstream pro-independence party, left-wing Esquerra Republicana (ERC), will not join this movement.
Its spokeswoman, Marta Vilalta, said they do not feel like they are the target of this project, which they see as "center-right."
"The country and the independence movement need a strong and powerful center-right party, each one has to grow in its space so that we can later join forces to be stronger"
Marta Vilalta · ERC spokeswoman
"The country and the independence movement need a strong and powerful center-right party, each one has to grow in its space so that we can later join forces to be stronger. This will make us achieve the [Catalan] Republic."
In the 2017 election, ERC rejected repeating a unitary pro-independence ticket, after two years of joint coalition candidacy with PDeCAT.
The party is also reluctant to accept unitary tickets in the local elections, although a group of independent dignitaries are trying to promote single pro-independence candidacies for the 2019 vote, including in Barcelona.
Ciutadans: move to "hide corruption"
In the unionist field, the announcement sparked criticism. Sonia Sierra, an MP for the main party in the Catalan chamber, Ciutadans, said this move aims to "hide the corruption" of the old CDC and PDeCAT.
"They change their name every week, but there is no change of name or Catalan independence flag big enough to hide their corruption."
For her, parties in favor of a Catalan state are "fighting with each other" and only agree about "breaking the laws and separating us from Spain and Europe."
Socialists: they "haven't done things well"
The Socialists also spoke about the new move by Puigdemont and Torra. According to one of its MPs, Salvador Illa, Crida per la República has to admit that they "haven't done things well."
Illa also called on them to give up the path towards independence without an agreement with Spain.
He also said that the new governments in both Catalonia and Spain mean "a ray of hope" for them for the situation between both administrations to improve.