Arrimadas to Torra: nobody will lead Catalonia to an independent republic
Presidential candidate faces parties for and against independence in parliament
On Monday, Quim Torra faced all parties in the Catalan parliament in the investiture debate to swear him in as head of government. Torra, who will be appointed with the votes of the two main pro-independence parties in the chamber, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC), was harshly criticized by unionist forces, who challenged him over his promise to move forward with plans to separate from Spain.
Ciutadans: independence plans buried
Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the main unionist party, Ciutadans (Cs), said that “neither you, nor any of you all, will lead us to an independent republic,” and added that “if the independence movement ever thought that it could succeed, today they buried it by appointing this candidate as president.” Arrimadas also took on Torra for a series of controversial tweets and articles in which he criticized Spaniards, accusing him of having a “supremacist” ideology that leaves out part of the Catalan society. The would-be opposition leader also called on other unionist parties to be “as united as possible,” and pledged to pursue political consensus in social issues and the fight against corruption.
ERC: Catalonia, a nation where there's room for everyone
ERC, the main ally of Torra’s JxCat, stressed the diversity of Catalan society, and its value, in its parliamentary address on Monday. “We are a people of peoples, a nation where there's room for everyone. We are a country built up from its people's diversity," said Sergi Sabrià, ERC’s spokesperson. He started his address by saying “good morning” in seven different languages spoken by Catalans, such as Arabic, Chinese and Hindi. In what was seen as an attempt to reach out to left-wing supporters who are currently against independence, Sabrià said that Catalan independence is about “building a country better for everyone”, and stressed that they are “the heirs of those who proclaimed the Republic in the 1930s.”
PSC: constituent process does not fit Spain’s legal framework
Miquel Iceta, the leader of the Socialist party (PSC), warned that “neither a constituent process nor a Catalan Constitution project fit [Spain’s] current legal framework,” in a reference to Torra’s plans to move forward with independence. He also brought up Torra’s offer for dialogue “without conditions” to Spain: "Are you sure the dialogue you’re proposing is without conditions? Without independence and the Republic on the table?" Iceta added that the formation of a new government “will be the first clear sign” to know whether Catalonia is leading to “stopping” or to “increasing confrontation” in the country.
Catalunya en Comú Podem: accusing Torra of 'discriminatory' nationalism
Xavier Domènech, the leader of the left-wing Catalunya en Comú Podem coalition, took on Torra for his controversial comments on Spaniards, accusing him of defending a “discriminatory” Catalan nationalism. Domènech asked Torra for clarifications: “Mr Torra, what do you think about Spaniards? And about Catalans?” Domènech also addressed left-wing parties that support independence, ERC and CUP, and criticized them for failing to propose “a progressive candidate” despite having more seats together than JxCat.
CUP: join opposition to ensure Catalan independence
In one of the most awaited discourses of the session, CUP leader Carles Riera stressed that the party’s four abstentions are not a blank cheque to its major pro-independence allies: "Our decision is to not oppose to the swearing in, but join opposition." Riera pledged to continue working in order to ensure the independence of Catalonia, and said that they will oppose government "to build republican policies and at the service of the popular classes" and "to maintain the democratic conflict against Spain above all through social mobilization, civil non-violent disobedience and institutions."
People’s Party: Rajoy will not negotiate how to break Spain down
The leader of Spain’s ruling People’s Party in Catalonia, Xavier García Albiol, warned Torra that should his government move toward independence, the Spanish government will again take exceptional measures to stop him. Albiol asked Torra: “Do you think the Spanish president will negotiate how to break Spain down?” Albiol criticised Torra’s plans to open again the Catalan government delegations abroad. "For you, the important things are not companies, but open embassies to talk badly about Spain, right, Mr Torra?"