Front Republicà: Young guns calling for democratic revolution
The furthest left pro-independence candidates hope to be powerful and pledge to be uncompromising
Hastily put together just 45 days before the Spanish general election, the Front Republicà is the youngest political force on the ballot paper for April 28.
It hasn’t lost any of its youthful zeal – nor arguably any stubbornness.
An electoral alliance of far-left, anti-monarchy and pro-independence candidates – formed by a posse of radical groups including the Pirate Party – they are hoping to win enough seats to make them indispensable for Pedro Sánchez to stay president.
Their name may sound like an army, but they long for a democratic revolution.
"Safe and practical"
The Front Republicà describes itself as a "safe and practical alternative that will never be blackmailed into supporting a party that goes against the interests of our people."
Endorsed by moderates in the CUP Party, which boycotts Spanish elections, they are unashamedly ashamed of fellow pro-independence parties Esquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya, whom it accuses of selling out to the unionist Socialists.
Almost unheard-of for election candidates, they have no formal manifesto.
What for?, they argue, when they don’t want to be part of Spain, let alone govern it, and when they think the whole Spanish system is undemocratic.
Instead, they have three conditions on which they would decide whether to give their backing for any government to be formed in the highly likely event of a hung parliament.
First, it must support what it calls Catalonia’s "right to self-determination" – a referendum on independence.
Second, it must release what it calls "political prisoners and exiles" – the pro-independence leaders charged with rebellion for supporting the informal referendum 18 months ago.
And third, it must repeal Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows Madrid to curb Barcelona’s autonomy, as well as Article 135, which restricts constitutional reform.
Cross any of those red lines – and they are happy for Spain to be left ungovernable.
"We will not surrender to the blackmail of those who claim that the right will rise up"
Albano-Dante Fachin · Front Republicà leader
Or worse, for independence supporters, governed by a right-wing coalition involving the People’s Party, who invoked Article 155 in the aftermath of the October 2017 referendum, passionate unionists Ciudatans, and possibly far-right Vox.
"We will not surrender to the blackmail of those who claim that the right will rise up [if pro-independence parties don’t put aside some of their aims]," said Front Republicà leader Albano-Dante Fachin, formerly of Podemos’ Catalan branch.
The governing Socialist Party – the only presidential pretenders they could realistically work with – has vowed never to give in to the kinds of pro-independence clamors so essential for the Front Republicà.
They’re an unknown quantity, and polls are sceptical of their chances, but if they win a couple of key seats in Catalonia and the national picture is as fragmented as experts forecast, they hope the president may have no other option than to pay attention.