Mayors and councillors of 300 Catalan cities to work during Spain’s Constitution Day
At least a dozen Catalan City Councils will open their doors on the Spanish Constitution Day, on Tuesday the 6th of December. In addition, in almost 300 cities, such as Barcelona, the councillors of pro-independence parties will work, although City Hall will remain closed. Besides this, different protest and solidarity activities will also take place throughout Catalonia, following the recommendations of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), the promoter of the initiative. The organisation sent a manifesto to the elected members of the City Councils so they can read it in front of the municipal offices this Tuesday at 12 pm (CET time). The text deems the Spanish Constitution a “corset” and “a prison for democracy” that “impedes the Catalan people from freely deciding their political future”. The symbolic opening comes just two months after Spain’s National Day festivity, on the 12th of October, when several City Councils decided to open the municipal offices.
Barcelona (CNA).- Mayors and councillors of at least 300 Catalan cities will work during Constitution Day this Tuesday the 6th of December. Around 10 City Councils will go even further and open the municipal offices. The estimation was made this Monday by the president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), Neus Lloveras. According to her, the figure may be even higher, as it only refers to the City Councils attached to the AMI that have already communicated their intention to work. In this vein, Lloveras mentioned Barcelona, Badalona and Sabadell as some of the cities where elected members will attend work. During the day there will also be different protest and solidarity activities, such as the reading of a manifesto in front of the City Councils at 12 pm (CET time). The text, written by the AMI, deems the Spanish Constitution a “corset” and “a prison for democracy”, which “impedes the Catalan people from freely deciding their political future”.
CUP, the first to join AMI’s initiative
The first political party to announce that it will work on the festivity day was the radical left pro-independence CUP. At an assembly last November, the CUP politicians coordinated themselves not only to work, but to open all City Councils where they govern. The aim is to turn the day into the start of the Catalan independence process.
All 385 CUP elected representatives in Catalonia will attend work on the 6th of December as “any other day”, the party explained. CUP is present in a total of 146 Catalan City Councils. In some 30 of them it is part of the local government team and in 16 it holds the mayoralty. It is “pertinent” to explain from the local sphere that the celebration is not “a day for the majority of people” in Catalonia, the spokesman of CUP’s national secretariat, Quim Arrufat, said. The Constitution “represents a regime that makes our lives impossible at a political and democratic level”, he added during an interview with the CNA.
Left-wing pro-independence party ERC has also announced that its elected members will work, although it has neither presented a unitary strategy nor given any specific instruction. For its part, former liberal ‘Convergència’ (now renamed the Catalan European Democratic Party – PDECat) has given freedom to its representatives to decide whether they want to work. In this regard, Arrufat lamented the “lack of coordination” between parties. “It is not clear whether everyone is participating in the initiative or not”, he said with regret.
Protest and solidarity activities
Many Catalan cities will host protest and solidarity events during Constitution Day, following the recommendations of the AMI. Thus, the City Council of Juneda (in the province of Lleida) will be opened from 9 to 1 pm to make a food collection for people in need.
For its part, the town of Celrà (in Girona) will use the festivity as an opportunity to change the name of Constitution Square to ‘Maria Mercè Marçal Square’, a tribute to the Catalan poetess. The Mayor of Girona, Marta Madrenas, will go door-to-door to explain to locals the reasons for Catalonia’s independence.
The Association of Municipalities for Independence also encouraged City Council representatives to read the manifesto ‘We work for Catalonia’. The text claims that the interpretation of the Constitution is “clearly politicised by an illegitimate tribunal”, referring to the Spanish Constitutional Court. The document also complains about the judicialisation of politics and laments that the Constitution is “used as a penal code” to investigate elected representatives, who “in the exercise of their functions allow Catalonia to debate the sovereignty process”.
The second symbolic opening in two months
The symbolic openings of the City Councils will take place just two months after the 12th of October, Spain’s National Day, when several municipalities decided to open their doors. Probably the most famous case then was the Badalona one. The City Council disobeyed a court resolution requesting it not to open the municipal offices during the festivity. The judge forbade the opening of the facilities, after the Spanish Government Delegation in Catalonia appealed at the last minute.
Badalona, the centre of the attention on the 12-O, has not agreed on this occasion to any specific action to vindicate the working character of Constitution Day. However, some government representatives, such as ERC and ‘Guanyem Badalona’ councillors have announced they will to work. Unlike on Spain’s National Day, however, they will do so on an individual basis and the municipal offices will remain closed.
Spain will consider “taking measures” if necessary
The delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, recalled that the 6th of December is a festivity and said this Monday that he hopes “everyone acts with responsibility”. According to the former Catalan MP, the Spanish Executive will not apply any exceptional monitoring to the Catalan City Councils, but a “normal” one, during the Constitution Day.
Furthermore, Millo stressed that the Spanish Government does not rule out “taking measures” depending on how the day goes in Catalonia and how the City Halls act. Millo recalled that the elected representatives can work “if they feel it is appropriate”, but warned that they cannot coerce civil servants into doing the same. City Councils that open their doors will incur punishment for disobedience, as happened with Badalona over the 12-O.
Constitution Day is a public holiday that marks the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on the 6th of December 1978, to decide on the new Spanish Constitution. After the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and as part of the Spanish transition to democracy, a general election took place in 1977 to convene the Spanish Parliament and to make a draft of a Constitution.
A seven-member panel, selected from the elected members of the Spanish Parliament, worked on the text. The draft was approved by the Spanish Parliament on the 31st of October 1978 and by the Spanish people in a referendum on the 6th of December 1978.