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Catalan president calls Spanish Constitution 'obsolete' on 43rd anniversary of ratification

Insufficient support to amend text as Congress marks date without pro-independence parties


06 December 2021 02:19 PM



December 6 has been a bank holiday in Spain for the past 38 years. It marks the date of the 1978 referendum in which Spaniards voted in favor of the Constitution that turned Spain into a parliamentary monarchy following Dictator Francisco Franco's death.

Yet, over four decades after its ratification, Catalan president Pere Aragonès has described the document as "obsolete" and said "there is nothing to celebrate" on the 6th.

"The only thing it does is reinforce pro-independence positions," he argued from the town of La Bisbal de l'Empordà, south of Girona, where he was attending an event on Monday.

Indeed, one thing not only Catalan pro-independence parties have taken issue with is the Constitution's reference to "the physically, sensorially and mentally handicapped" rather than "people with disabilities" – a change that will have to wait for now as the Spanish government has recognized they will not be able to rephrase Article 49 without the backing of the conservative People's Party and far-right Vox.

Amendments regarding the immunity of monarchs – and former monarchs – as well as the royal family's male primogeniture, or territorial makeup are not being considered either.

The People's Party, for one, has been reticent to allow any changes, arguing that "the conditions are not right" to "renew and modernize" the text in a manner that is still respectful of its original "spirit." 

Because of this, Aragonès' Esquerra Republicana did not attend the congressional commemorative event, nor did Junt per Catalunya, CUP, EH Bildu from the Basque Country, Galician BNG, or Més per Mallorca and Més Menorca.

These parties recently signed a manifesto in which they all called for Spain to be recognized as a multi-nation state as well as for the right to self-determination to be safeguarded. 

"Today, more than ever, we should remember that we need a constitution for our own country," Aragonès said.

Catalan parliament speaker Laura Borràs, of junior Catalan cabinet party Junts, criticized the Constitution along similar lines: "It was a pact with alive and kicking Francoism and, forty years later, has proven to be useless."

Spanish president Pedró Sánchez, on the other hand, argued that the Constitution brought "rights, freedoms, concord, coexistence, and secured EU membership."

Sánchez, who gave a brief statement to the press before the congressional event, made no mention of debate surrounding amending the Constitution. 

Fellow Socialist party member Salvador Illa, the head of the Catalan branch, similarly called on everyone to view the Constitution as "a common democratic commitment." 


  • Catalan president Pere Aragonès in la Bisbal de l'Empordà on December 6, 2021 (by Gerard Vilà)

  • Catalan president Pere Aragonès in la Bisbal de l'Empordà on December 6, 2021 (by Gerard Vilà)