Party Review - ‘Junts Pel Sí’: “Independence is for real. We are ready”
The cross-party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ (‘Together for Yes’) is a unitary list which gathers together, for the first time in history, members of Catalan civil society, such as the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, and politicians from different ideological backgrounds that support independence. “What we are doing here is very strange but we are going through a very strange moment, extraordinary”, stated former Member of the European Parliament Raül Romeva, who tops the unitary list. “We have tried everything” to hold a self-determination vote, but using the parliamentary elections “is the last resort”, stated Catalan President Artur Mas, who comes fourth on the list.Their plan is to declare independence within 18 months of the 27-S elections “if the majority is there”, which many polls forecast it will be. “This is for real, we are ready to do it” stated Romeva and added that they are “aware of the risks but also very aware of the enormous opportunities”.
Barcelona (CNA).- Pro-independence list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ (‘Together for Yes’) is a cross-party coalition which brings together members of Catalan civil society and politicians of different political sensibilities that favour Catalonia’s independence. “What we are doing here is very strange but we are going through a very strange moment, extraordinary”, stated former Member of the European Parliament Raül Romeva, who tops the unitary list. “We have tried everything” to hold a self-determination vote, but using the parliamentary elections “is the last resort”, stated Catalan President Artur Mas, who comes fourth on the list. Carme Forcadell, former president of the grassroots organisation the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and organiser of the massive pro-independence rallies on the three National Days prior to this year, and former President of Òmnium Cultural Muriel Casals, are running in 2nd and 3rd position respectively. President of left-wing pro-independence party ERC, Oriol Junqueras, and President of pro-independence Spanish-speakers Association ‘Súmate’, Eduardo Reyes, are also on the list, which is completed by personalities such as singer-songwriter and anti-Franco activist Lluís Llach and former FCB coach Pep Guardiola. ‘Junts Pel Sí’ has also achieved the support of 100,000 citizens whom have signed up as symbolic “candidates”.
Most polls have pointed to pro-independence list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ as the likely winner of the upcoming 27-S Catalan elections. Their position regarding Catalonia’s push for independence is clearly in favour, with this being a common point amongst the parties of different ideologies that compose the candidacy. The civil society associations responsible for the massive rallies that took to the streets on the last few Catalan National Days, the ANC and Òmniun Cultural, have also joined ‘Junts Pel Sí’. Their position as non-political parties but especially their ability to mobilise huge sectors of society has proved valuable in winning support for the candidacy. “What we are doing here is very strange but we are going through a very strange moment, extraordinary”, stated former Member of the European Parliament, Raül Romeva, who tops the unitary list.
Former president of the ANC, Carme Forcadell, highlighted the decisive nature of the 27-S elections at the official presentation of ‘Junts Pel Sí’. “In the 9th of November consultation more than 2.3 million Catalans challenged the Spanish State, disobeyed the Spanish State” she recalled, adding that “now, the climax is coming: the 27 September elections”. “In July 2010, we changed our mind-set” and “went from being resisting and protesting people to people who propose things” stated former president of Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals.
“This is for real, we are ready to do it”
President Mas, who comes fourth on the list, insisted on the plebiscitary nature of the upcoming elections. “We have tried everything” to hold a self-determination vote, but using the parliamentary elections “is the last resort”, he has stated on many occasions. ‘Junts Pel Sí’ has repeatedly assured that the 27-S is the final step, “the last elections before the first elections of a new country” as Romeva put it. “This is for real, we are ready to do it” added the former MEP and emphasised that “if the majority is there” on election day “the Catalan Parliament will solemnly declare the start of the independence process”. "We know they will make things hard for us”, stated Romeva, referring to the Spanish institutions, and emphasised that his intention is, first of all to “try to negotiate”.
“Negotiations will be constant and permanent”
‘Junts Pel Sí’ have slightly softened their message after some European leaders and institutions claimed that Catalonia may be banned from the EU if independence was achieved through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, although the EU institutions have admitted that they haven’t done any specific study on the matter. In the event of a victory of the pro-independence forces in the 27-S, Romeva assured this Thursday that “if the ‘yes’ win, we will start a process of negotiation with everybody; with the Spanish State but also with the European institutions, in order to implement that mandate”. “Negotiations will be constant and permanent” during the entire process, he emphasised.
Roadmap toward independence
“Things have to be done correctly but also quickly”, stated Romeva. In this scenario, the newly elected Catalan Government and Parliament will have a maximum of 18 months to develop the necessary state structures “to disconnect from Spain”, legally speaking, and approve the “Law of Legal Transition”.
A constituent process will also start, “from bottom to top” through “citizen participation”, and once all this is ready, “we will proclaim independence and legally disconnect from Spain” stated Romeva.
“In the end, constituent elections will take place and, within this framework, may the best one win", he concluded, referring to a new electoral call with regular parties competing, without the need for unitary lists.
Fitting into the EU
The fitting within the EU if Catalonia were to become an independent state was a central issue of the electoral campaign debate. Spanish institutions and anti-Catalan nationalism parties have claimed that Catalonia will be automatically outside of the EU and the Eurozone in the event of independence. However, the EU hasn’t made any official statement regarding Catalonia’s specific case. “We will be in. And we will negotiate the new status from the inside” assured Romeva. “Nobody is interested in having Catalonia expelled from the EU” he emphasised “and least of all Spain”. “On the contrary, it is in Spain’s and the European institutions’ interest” to keep relationships with a Catalonia which remains “within the EU”. “It is a win-win-win situation” he concluded. “The EU supports the rule of law and democracy” he stated and “the EU is going to respond democratically to Catalonia’s democratic mandate”.