Party Review - Anti-Catalan Nationalism ‘Ciutadans’: “Catalonia doesn’t have the right to self-determination”
Anti-Catalan Nationalism Ciutadans is a party born and raised in Catalonia. Although its trajectory has been short, they experienced the highest growth in the past 27-S Catalan elections and became the second force in the Parliament, with 25 MPs. Now they are running for the Spanish Elections for the first time and many polls forecast a great result for them. “Being Catalan doesn’t mean supporting independence” stated Ciutadans’ candidate for Barcelona, Juan Carlos Girauta, and criticised current Catalan President Artur Mas for assuming “what the majority of Catalans want even before they vote”. The party’s position regarding Catalonia’s push for independence has always been clear “Spain’s sovereignty is not negotiable” warned Girauta and assured that “the right of self-determination is only applicable to colonies and countries subjected to tyranny” and therefore “not for Catalonia”.
Barcelona (CNA).- Although Ciutadans is a party born and raised in Catalonia, its anti-Catalan Nationalism component has defined the party since its creation in 2005. “Being Catalan doesn’t mean supporting independence” stated Ciutadans’ candidate for Barcelona, Juan Carlos Girauta, and criticised current Catalan President Artur Mas for assuming “what the majority of Catalans want even before they vote”. “Spain’s sovereignty is not negotiable” warned Girauta and assured that “the right of self-determination is only applicable to colonies and countries subjected to tyranny” and therefore “not for Catalonia”. However, Girauta considers it to be “perfectly normal to buy the independence argument” due to Spain’s economic crisis and the “discrediting of its democratic institutions” but assured that this was “a lie” rather than a real solution. This is the first time that Ciutadans is running for the Spanish Elections and many polls forecast a great result for them.
“It is perfectly normal to buy the independence argument, the proposal of alternative-left Podemos or any others” stated Girauta during Ciutadans’ press conference at CNA headquarters. He attributed the growth of pro-independence support in Catalonia to “Spain’s economic crisis, the high rates of unemployment and the discrediting of its democratic institutions”. However, he assured that “following the independence way” would be “a lie” rather than a real solution. “It is perfectly normal to be very angry, but someone has to make the reforms” he stated.
The right of self-determination “not applicable to Catalonia”
Ciutadans have repeatedly expressed their opposition to Catalonia’s independence and are even against the celebration of an agreed referendum allowing Catalans to decide their political future. “We don’t support Catalonia’s right to decide because it is the same as the self-determination right but in other words” assured Girauta. “The right of self-determination is only applicable to colonies and countries subjected to tyranny” and therefore “not applicable for Catalonia” he stated.
“We won’t negotiate Spain’s sovereignty” he warned “if a party’s only goal is to break the law, there is nothing left to discuss”. However, he admitted that there might be other things which could be discussed with the Catalan parties, such “as the economy, the legal system or the standards of our welfare state” but it will never happen “outside of the constitutional frame”. Following this, he noted that the “constitutional frame” didn’t mean the “Spanish Constitution” which he assured “it is possible to change”.
“Being Catalan doesn’t mean supporting independence”
“We are a Catalan party, nobody can deny that” stated Girauta “but we have to break the nationalist premises which identify being Catalan with a concrete ideology: being Catalan means being born in Catalonia, it doesn’t mean supporting independence”. Following this, he criticised President Mas and Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, whom he accused of having an “arrogant” and “supremacist” attitude for considering Ciutadans less Catalan. “Neither Mas nor Forcadell, nor anybody, can determine my Catalan condition” warned Girauta “I’m Catalan even before their positions existed and my Catalan condition is the most common in Catalonia, because I feel Catalan and Spanish too”. According to Girauta, Mas anticipates Catalans’ will “even before they vote” and pointed out that “majorities are made by electing”.
Reform Spain to restore its “bad image”
“We want to deeply reform Spain” stated Girauta “we want to attack the degeneration of the democratic quality, fight against the political disaffection and guarantee the separation of powers, which are in serious danger”. According to Girauta, the “bad image” of Spain is one of the main reasons why many citizens in Catalonia chose the pro-independence path.
According to Girauta, these reforms will focus on two branches. On the one hand, the regeneration of the Spanish institutions to guarantee the separation of powers, especially in the Spanish legal system separation of powers, but also to specify the territorial competences. In relation to this, Ciutadans’ proposed to eliminate the Spanish Senate, a chamber which is supposed to represent the different territories within Spain, and substitute it with a council made up of representatives from the Autonomous Communities. “The Spanish state established that the Autonomous Communities were in charge of guaranteeing the welfare state” stated Girauta “at the least we have to make sure that they have enough resources to do so”.
On the other hand, Ciutadans believes that Spain has to be reformed “to avoid the consequences of the economic crisis affecting the country in such a devastating way”. According to Girauta, the main and most grave consequence of the global economic crisis in Spain is unemployment. “The crisis in Spain especially affected the labour market” he assured and this is “because of the structure of our market and the contractual duality, which divides the workers between temporary and permanent”. In line with this, Ciutadans’ proposal is “to unify the contracts” and establish a unique and indefinite contract “with an increasing dismissal”.
To reform Spain’s labour market Ciutadans also call for investing “3% of the GDP” in Investment, Development and Innovation “to promote specialisation and added value” as well as reforming the education system and turning it into a “more competitive world”.