Catalan Parliament supports Puigdemont’s legitimacy as president

Unionist Ciutadans will appeal in Spain's Constitutional Court, arguing their rights were violated in a tense and controversial plenary session

The Catalan Parliament during its plenary session on March 1 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas)
The Catalan Parliament during its plenary session on March 1 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 1, 2018 02:34 PM

The Catalan Parliament supported legitimizing Carles Puigdemont as president. In a plenary session on Thursday morning, the pro-independence majority in the chamber passed a motion politically backing the Catalan deposed president in Brussels, although it will have no legal effects. This is thought to be the first step towards the end of the current stalemate in Catalan politics. Currently, parties Junts per Catalunya, Esquerra Republicana and CUP are holding talks to agree on a president and to form a government, which, in theory w,ill put an end to direct rule from Madrid.

The plenary session, though, was tense and controversial. The CUP party had registered some amendments to a motion which included mentions to the declaration of independence. Ultimately, the most disputed amendments were withdrawn after Spain’s attorney general threatened taking legal action if they were voted on. Yet, the text does say that the chamber has a majority of lawmakers willing to take “a Republican (pro-independence) government policy, and to establish an independent Catalonia.”

JxCat: Spain’s “authoritarian drift”

In the debate, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) flatly rejected the measures taken by the Spanish government on Catalonia’s self-rule. MP Quim Torra branded them as “unlimited despotism” that were however “not at all enlightened” and he also used the expressions “repression” and “authoritarian drift” to refer to these unprecedented measures in place since last October. Torra said that his group is ready to present a “Republican project” to citizens and he believes that “only with a Catalan Republic” Catalonia “will be free and presidents will not be persecuted.”  

Esquerra: Rajoy measures “dictatorship”

Esquerra Republicana (ERC) expressed similar views and, as its pro-independence allies, noted that not all the MPs in Parliament were not able to attend the debate, as some of them are in jail, while others “in exile.” Esquerra’s leader in the chamber, Marta Rovira, said that direct rule attacks “the essences of our country” and deemed Rajoy’s measures as those of a “dictatorship.” While urging for direct rule to come to an end, Rovira also claimed that “independence is only a way to achieving a better country.”

CUP: implementing independence

Far-left CUP urged Esquerra and Junts per Catalunya to implement the results of the October 1 referendum and the declaration of independence, despite Spain’s opposition. “Giving up this path is one of the least effective anti-repressive proposals,” said one of its spokespeople, Carles Riera. He also claimed that Spain’s response to the road to secession is “repression and re-centralization.”

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