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Left-wing party wants Catalan president to set up ‘panel for dialogue’

Government approves of the idea, but warns such forum could clash with an initiative by parliament speaker


11 June 2018 07:31 PM


ACN | Barcelona

With all the calls for dialogue since Quim Torra became Catalan president and Pedro Sánchez took over at the head of the Spanish government, the leader of the Catalunya en Comú Podem party (CatECP) has argued for a “panel for dialogue” in Catalonia to try to reach consensus between political parties and social and civic organizations. CatECP leader, Xavier Domènech, explained his idea to Torra during a meeting on Monday, as the Catalan president continues with his round of talks with all of Catalonia’s political parties.

“Dialogue without conditions must be achieved, to be able to talk about anything, but especially with a willingness to reach agreement,” said Domènech, referring to both the upcoming talks between Torra and Sánchez, and negotiations between Catalonia’s political parties. Government spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi, said after the meeting that Torra approves of the idea, but she also warned that the panel could clash with an initiative by the parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, to set up a similar forum for open debate on Catalonia’s situation.

Torra must end “social fracture,” says Cs

The recent onus on talks and dialogue in the political sphere comes in contrast to a growing perception in some quarters that Catalonia is an increasingly divided society. After the Spanish foreign minister and Catalan politician, Josep Borrell, controversially warned on Sunday of imminent “civil confrontation” in Catalonia, the main opposition party, Ciutadans (Cs), on Monday called on Torra to take decisive “steps” to put an end to the “obvious social fracture” in the country that has been “caused by the separatists.”  

Cs spokeswoman, Sonia Sierra, said it was “incredible” that there are still people who deny the division in Catalan society. As proof, Sierra referred to an event in Vic at the weekend in which the Cs leadership was insulted by a group of 50 people. Sierra also referred to an event at Barcelona University by Societat Civil Catalana, an association opposed to Catalonia’s independence, which was cancelled after pressure from pro-independence organizations. Sierra said Cs is willing to talk to anyone, but said it was difficult to do so with a president who “says that Spain is a dictatorship,” in reference to Torra.
ERC: “We must be able to talk about everything”
As for the ERC party, its spokeswoman also stressed the need for dialogue without conditions. “Our position is dialogue and negotiation without concessions or conditions,” said Marta Vilalta on Monday. Launching a message at Sánchez, Vilalta insisted that “we have to be able to talk about everything.” As one of the main pro-independence parties, Vilalta said that for ERC “our starting point is the defense of the country, of the October 1 referendum and of the right of self-determination.”


  • The Catalan president, Quim Torra (right,) with the Catalunya en Comú - Podem leader, Xavier Domènech, on June 11, 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)

  • The Catalan president, Quim Torra (right,) with the Catalunya en Comú - Podem leader, Xavier Domènech, on June 11, 2018 (by Rafa Garrido)