Campaigning continues with pro-independence parties criticizing handling of Catalan conflict

Independence camp calls out Spain's response to Supreme Court sentencing and king's visit to Barcelona ahead of November 10 vote

Pere Aragonès at an ERC campaign event in Lleida on November 3, 2019 (by Guillem Roset)
Pere Aragonès at an ERC campaign event in Lleida on November 3, 2019 (by Guillem Roset) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 3, 2019 09:18 PM

Campaigning ahead of the November 10 snap election continues, with the pro-independence camp heavily criticizing the acting president Pedro Sánchez's Socialist party's handling of issues faced in Catalonia.

Esquerra calls out "repression," handling of Franco exhumation and royal visit

Esquerra Republicana (ERC), the party of jailed former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras that according to the latest CIS public research institute poll is poised to make further gains in the upcoming election, claims to be the only force that would be able to achieve a pro-independence victory.

At a campaign event held on Saturday near the Lledoners prison where Junqueras is being held, current Catalan vice president and ERC party member Pere Aragonès also stated that on November 10, the electorate must choose between the "repression" of acting president Pedro Sanchez's Socialists or ERC "for freedom."

On Sunday at an event in Lleida, Aragonès had even harsher words to describe the Socialists and the media frenzy that accompanied Franco's recent exhumation.

"We're here today in this electoral campaign that began at a meeting at the Valley of the Fallen [with Franco's exhumation], where the Socialists' propaganda turned into the exaltation of fascism. The campaign started there and they want to top it off on Monday by bringing the Bourbon king to Barcelona," Aragonès claimed.

Party colleague Gabriel Rufián also complained of Felipe VI's upcoming Barcelona visit with his daughter for the Princess of Girona awards ceremony, which ERC and JxCat unsuccessfully attempted to block during the campaign period as partisan: he should "run in the election" if "he participates in the campaign."

According to Rufián, "Catalonia does not have a king."

JxCat sees king's visit as "partisan" and questions kind of amnesty

Laura Borràs, of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's pro-independence JxCat party – which could possibly lose seats according to the latest poll – was also one to criticize Felipe VI's visit to Barcelona during the campaign period as well as the electoral authority's decision to not accept JxCat and ERC's attempts to prevent him from coming for being "partisan."

However, when questioned about how Spain should proceed with the jailed pro-independence leaders, the politician seemed to suggest that while amnesty was a key point, an amnesty law was not: "We all know the process behind passing a law, regardless of its nature, because they must be approved by a majority of congressional forces, which would not only hope to see those in prison stay there but also see those of us that agree with them imprisoned too."

Describing the conflict in Catalonia as a "political" one, Borràs argued that because of its very nature it "should not have prisoners, people in exile or people suffering reprisals."

En Comú Podem: "The most useful and key" to solving conflict

While not a pro-independence party, Podemos and their Catalan branch, En Comú Podem, are clear in defining the Catalan conflict as a political rather than legal one and defending an independence referendum agreed upon with Spain as the way forward.

Jaume Asens, the Catalan branch's top politician, defended his party's position as it was not behind the unilateral declaration of independence on October 27, 2017, nor was it in favor of applying Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution dissolving self-rule in Catalonia, and stated that they were "the most useful and key" in terms of solving the conflict.

Asens also argued that "telling the truth means recognizing that there is a political problem here. Because the Socialists deny that that is the case – they only speak of there being a coexistence or a public order conflict. They only focus on the effects, on the consequences, and not the causes."