Cold and expectant reactions from Catalonia to the new King's coronation
Catalan parties welcomed the new King in a cold manner, and some were even directly absent from the coronation and participated instead in events in favour of a republican regime. However, after a few days of uncertainty, the President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State CiU, Artur Mas, attended the ceremony in Madrid. Despite the fact that CiU did not give its explicit support to the King's succession, the CiU representatives were all present at the ceremony, although without showing enthusiasm. In addition, Mas insisted that he continues with his "wait and see" attitude, as the King's speech "did not offer anything new". Meanwhile, representatives from the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) did not attend the ceremonies, neither did representatives from the Catalan Green Socialist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), who participated in a small pro-republic demonstration in Barcelona at the exact same time the new King was swearing the Constitution.
Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan parties welcomed the new King in a cold manner, and somewere directly absent from the coronation ceremonies and participated instead in events in favour of a republican regime. However, after a few days of uncertainty, the President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State CiU, Artur Mas, attended the ceremony in Madrid. On Thursday morning, Felipe VI has sworn as Spain's new King before the Spanish Parliament and Senate, where there were many Catalan representatives present but also many absent. In fact, the legal process that enabled Juan Carlos I's abdication and the coronation of his son was not negotiated with Catalan parties and did not receive their support, confirming that the Constitutional consensus from 1978 is broken. Despite this fact and the self-determination process, the CiU representatives were all present at the ceremony, although without much enthusiasm, as was demonstrated by Mas' short applause, a contrast to the minute and a half applause with which Felipe VI was welcomed at the Spanish Parliament plenary room. In addition, the Catalan President insisted that he continues with his "wait and see" attitude, as the King's speech "did not offer anything new". Meanwhile, representatives from the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), which has been supporting a republican regime for decades, did not attend the ceremonies, neither did representatives from the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), who participated in a small demonstration in Barcelona calling for a Republic at the exact same time the new King was swearing the Constitution. The only Catalan representatives that participated enthusiastically in the coronation events were those from the People's Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is part from the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which have been the two parties guaranteeing a smooth succession and have buried a debate about the monarchy's continuity.
Felipe VI has been received in a cold and expectant way by Catalan representatives, or even directly shunned.
"Wait and see", states the Catalan President
Asked about the new King's speech just after the coronation ceremony, the Catalan President stated that he still held his "wait and see" attitude. Mas cut short his official trip in the United States, which was focused on business promotion and research agreements, in order to attend Thursday's events. He did it because of institutional respect, as President of all Catalans and Catalonia, he said. However, Mas barely clapped his hands during the coronation ceremony; he just did it for a few seconds, instead of participating in the one-minute-and-a-half round of applause offered by most of the people present in the Spanish Parliament's plenary room. After the ceremony, Mas also attended the short military parade, while the President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, was absent from this part.
Furthermore, after shaking hands with Felipe VI once in the Royal Palace, after the military parade, Mas told the press that the new King's speech did not offer "anything new". "The message was the same as always", added Mas. Instead, he would have preferred the King to offer a true "renovated message", affirming that "Spain is a state that hosts different nations, such as the Catalan one". However, as Mas pointed out, Felipe VI only talked about a single nation, the Spanish nation. Therefore, according to him, this was a more-than-enough reason not to participate in the long rounds of applause. "Being there" was already "a gesture of courtesy", stated Mad, considering he had interrupted an official trip in the US.
The ERC and ICV-EUiA representatives did not attend the ceremony
The President of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ERC, Oriol Junqueras, argued that they did not attend the coronation ceremonies because they did not want to play hypocritical roles. The ERC has been defending a republican regime since it was founded in 1931, as well as Catalonia's independence from Spain. Junqueras insisted that not attending the coronation is therefore "a logical decision", as he does not have "any hope that Spain will change its attitude regarding the rights and interests of Catalonia's citizens". "History has proven that we cannot expect anything from the Spanish State, being neither an absolute or constitutional monarchy, nor being a republic", he added.
In addition, the National Coordinator of the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), Joan Herrera, participated in a small demonstration in Barcelona at the exact same time that Felipe VI was sealing the Constitution. At 10.30am, ICV-EUiA members wrapped a Republican flag around the obelisk portraying the royal shield located in the Juan Carlos I Square of the Catalan capital. At this protest, Herrera state that the coronation of Felipe VI is "an imposition act", lacking authority and legitimacy as there has not been any referendum on the monarchy. Spain's monarchy was restored by the dictatorship of Franco, who named Juan Carlos his heir in the 1960s. Juan Carlos I became King on the 22 November 1975, just two days after General Franco died while still being Head of State.