Party Review - left wing ERC: “Just as we are present in Brussels, we’ll be present in Madrid”
Left wing ERC is likely to obtain one of its best results in the 20-D Spanish elections, according to many polls. The candidature will be led by Gabriel Rufián, from the pro-independence association of Spanish speakers ‘Súmate’ and member of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC). “Catalonia has to be defended everywhere” he stated adding that “now it is time to win the elections of a neighbouring state which is rejecting any negotiations at all”. ERC and Liberal CDC, the two main pro-independence forces forming cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí', have decided to run for the Spanish Elections separately.
Barcelona (CNA).- “Catalonia has to be defended everywhere and not only in the Catalan institutions: just as we are present in Brussels, we’ll be present in Madrid” stated left wing ERC candidate for the 20-D Spanish Elections, Gabriel Rufián. Rufián comes from the Spanish speakers association ‘Súmate’ and is a member of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grassroots organisation in charge of the massive pro-independence rallies that took to the streets on Catalonia's National Day. ERC and Liberal CDC, the two main pro-independence forces forming cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí', have decided to run for the Spanish Elections separately. Although the coalition got a majority of votes in the Catalan elections, representatives of both parties assured that now it is time to "enhance the pro-independence base" and fill the space left by radical left CUP, who won't run in the Spanish elections.
“Those who lost, the Spanish State, the People’s Party, the Spanish Socialist Party and [anti-Catalan nationalism] Ciutadans are describing the popular and pro-independence mandate that is following as defiance, a threat, a coup, a red button, and terrorism” stated Rufián and called for participation in the Spanish Elections. “We have to go and take up this enormous space which is the Spanish Parliament because if not others will do so, and they may have less democratic purposes” he warned. He assured that ERC will “guarantee that the democratic mandate emanating from the 27-S Catalan elections is fulfilled by the Spanish institutions”. “Catalonia has to be defended everywhere and not only in the Catalan institutions: just as we are present in Brussels, we’ll be present in Madrid” he declared.
"Catalan patriots" have to "beat the discouragement" and vote
ERC MP in the Spanish Parliament for more than 11 years and the current number two on ERC's list for the Spanish Elections, Joan Tardà, urged Catalans to vote. He called pro-independence supporters to beat the "discouragement" that they may feel due to the lengthening of the negotiations between pro-independence forces 'Junts Pel Sí' and radical left CUP. "Previous generations had to fight against Franco's dictatorship and even though they had far more reasons to quit and surrender, they never did" he recalled.
"If those citizens who voted for independence in the 27-S elections don't vote in the 20-D Spanish Elections because everything has taken too long, they are out of their minds, from a political point of view" stated Tardà during ERC's press conference at CNA headquarters. “We have already won, we have it close at hand, now we need to round it off” he assured and warned that "it is very possible that [anti-Catalan nationalism] Ciutadans will win the Spanish elections and then all those who didn't vote in the 20-D will cry a lot". According to Tardà, a Ciutadans victory would mean “a distortion, not definitive, not absolute and not categorical, but a distortion of this process that we have already started”. “Therefore, please, we urge you to beat the discouragement. Now it is time to vote” he concluded.
Speaking along the same lines, Rufián commented that “it is important to win in the 20-D and complete the electoral circle”. “We won in the European elections, we won in the local elections, we won a consultation, we won a plebiscite and now it is time to win the elections of a neighbouring state which is rejecting any negotiations at all”.
A separate candidature but willing to forge alliances
The winning pro-independence cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí''s formula won't be repeated in the 20-D. Therefore, Liberal CDC and left wing ERC will run for the Spanish Elections separately. The aim is "to enhance the pro-independence base" and cover the spectrum "from right to left" stated ERC's general secretary, Marta Rovira. Both parties also pointed to the need to fill the space left by radical left CUP, which won't run in the 20-D Spanish elections. Rovira and Rull both consider the referendum on independence to have been already held in the shape of elections on the 27-S. “Pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ aimed to win this referendum and they did, they won like never before” stated Rufián, but admitted that now they are “in a different scenario”. “We are going to defend this democratic mandate because some people are not respecting it” he warned.
“We are somehow together with CDC” stated Rufián and described them as “colleagues”. “CDC has to obtain a good result in the Spanish elections, but ERC has to obtain a better one” stated Tardà “however, now we all need each other” he nuanced. “We all get through this or no one does, no one, except for the unionists”.
“The Spanish state is not an example of ethics”
“We ran for regional elections because it was the only option left by the Spanish State” recalled Rufián “David Cameron, who can’t be suspected of being anti-establishment, put out the ballot boxes in Scotland, campaigned for a no and won, it is called democracy. However, this wasn’t possible here”.
Tardà recalled that Catalonia has asked “15 times” to do “what the Scottish were able to do: hold a referendum”. “Now we have started a democratic revolution and the constitutive process is unstoppable” unless the Spanish state “betrays its citizens and democracy and opts for measures which are not viable in the core of the developed world which is the EU, where democracy is the place where everything starts and finishes”.
In relation to this, he showed himself to be suspicious of the Spanish government, which has repeatedly ignored legal resolutions in favour of Catalonia and which “had 34 competences to be transferred to Catalonia still pending at the end of last term”. “This is the government which claims to be an example of ethics and fulfilment of the law” he lamented, “the same government which keeps on talking about the Constitution and which uses the courts against the citizens’ democratic mandate”.
A referendum agreed with Spain is impossible
ERC’s number two also expressed his opinion on alternative-left Podemos’ proposal to hold a referendum in Catalonia. “He knows perfectly well that there is no possibility at all that he will get the support to do what he has promised to do: celebrate a referendum agreed with Spain” he assured. “It is impossible because the sum of the Spanish People’s Party, the Spanish Socialist Party and Ciudadanos make it unviable”.
He also expressed his party’s sympathy for the left parties represented in the Spanish Parliament, including Podemos. "We will all be together on the streets, defending democracy" stated Tardà, who encouraged Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau and alternative left coalition 'En Comú Podem' to join their fight. "In the end, the dialectics are whether you want democracy, yes or no" assured Tardà and warned that the Spanish State "will be a bulldozer and will act in a very tough way".
The EU will recognise Catalonia’s democratic mandate
“The EU may be a lot of things but it is for sure pragmatic and we are convinced that it will, in the end, recognise democracy” assured Rufián, who pointed to Catalonia’s economic potential as an extremely valuable asset for the EU that won’t be left by itself. “Every time we have gone to talk to a Member State they have said the same: come with an unequivocal, democratic mandate and then we will talk. And that’s exactly what we have” he stated.