Catalan president could declare independence today
Puigdemont will make a statement in Parliament to implement the results of the referendum
A crucial event may happen today in the Catalan Parliament. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, will make a statement this afternoon at 6pm and independence could be declared. The Catalan president is supposed to explain how he plans to implement the results of the referendum. He has already said that the vote was binding, and 90% of the voters went for independence.
Exactly what he will say is not entirely clear. One possibility is that the Catalan president prepares a declaration of independence, but keeps the door open to mediation, as he suggested in recent days. Indeed, the outcome of the parliamentary session in the Catalan parliament could be a combination of independence and mediation
According to parliamentary sources, the Catalan parliament will not vote on any text, but Puigdemont’s statement will serve to implement the referendum law, that establishes the declaration of independence to be held in a parliamentary ordinary session. After the declaration of independence, a constituent process begins.
"History shouldn’t be repeated. We hope that nothing is declared. Maybe the one who declares it could end up like the one who declared it 83 years ago"
Pablo Casado · People's Party spokesman
Parliament, a fortress
The magnitude of events happening today in the Catalan parliament is also obvious by the large security measures taken. Unlike in normal plenary sessions, access to the park surrounding Parliament, Parc de la Ciutadella, is restricted to only MPs, press, staff and visitors with invitation. In fact, cars cannot access the park, which is now full of TV mobile units from across the world.
More than 1,000 journalists have asked for accreditation to follow the plenary from the Parliament, with many others covering events from outside. Streets near the Parliament, Picasso and Marquès de l'Argentera, are restricted and police are doing security checks in the main entrances to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
Madrid threatens to suspend Catalan self-government
From the Spanish government, the vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, warned that article 155 of the Spanish Constitution could be applied if independence is declared. Suspending Catalonia’s self-government is on the table.
Yesterday, the People's Party spokesman, Pablo Casado, stated, “History shouldn’t be repeated. We hope that nothing is declared. Maybe the one who declares it could end up like the one who declared it 83 years ago.” He was referring to Lluís Companys, who proclaimed the Catalan state in 1934. Immediately afterwards, he was jailed. Six years later, with Dictator Franco already in power, Companys was executed. Now, he is a martyr and a symbol for both pro-independence and anti-fascist movements.
Barcelona’s mayor calls for dialogue
The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, asked the President of the Catalan government yesterday not to declare independence. She also asked the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, not to suspend Catalonia's self-government.
She stressed that the Spanish and the Catalan governments should not make any decision that could be an obstacle to dialogue and mediation. She called on the two leaders not to contribute to a new "escalation" in tensions.