PP official compares Puigdemont to executed leader

People's Party spokesman warns Catalan president about declaring independence and ending up like Franco regime victim, Lluís Companys

The spokesman of the Spanish People's Party, Pablo Casado (by PP)
The spokesman of the Spanish People's Party, Pablo Casado (by PP) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 9, 2017 05:10 PM

A People’s Party spokesman has warned Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, that should he go ahead and declare independence on Tuesday, he could end up like a previous president of Catalonia who was executed by a Franco regime firing squad in 1940. The PP government spokesman’s comments drew widespread condemnation from the members of other political parties.

Comparing Puigdemont “to the man who declared [independence] 83 years ago”, Pablo Casado was referring to Lluís Companys, the Catalan president during the Spanish Civil War who declared a Catalan state in 1934. After the war, the Gestapo captured Companys in France and handed him over to the Franco regime, who executed him. Companys remains the only democratically elected European leader to have ever been executed.   

Casado later clarified his comments, which he said were meant as a warning against “repeating history”. “This is not a matter of left against right, it is about freedom against totalitarianism… Those who are encouraging violence are the separatists,” he said. Casado was speaking after a meeting of the PP executive, at which the Spanish government said “it will impede the independence of Catalonia” and will take “the measures necessary” to do so.

"Ignorant or irresponsible provocateur"

Yet, there was general rejection of Casado’s comments by the political community, who shared their thoughts on Twitter. Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, accused Casado of being "ignorant or an irresponsible provocateur." Meanwhile, the ERC spokesman in the Spanish parliament, Joan Tardà, wondered if Casado was “happy to remind a defenceless people how Companys ended up", while the deputy spokesman for the Republicans, Gabriel Rufián, limited his response to the word "pathetic". PDeCAT’s Sergi Miquel made the point that comparing Companys to Puigdemont "means comparing the PP government to that of Franco.”

Puigdemont is due to address the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday evening at 6pm, and there is widespread speculation that he could declare independence. The results of the October 1 referendum were officially confirmed over the weekend, with 90% of the 2.2 million people who voted in favor of secession. The Catalan National Assembly has called on the public to congregate on Passeig dels Til·lers and Avinguda Lluís Companys on Tuesday evening to support the Catalan government and Parliament’s handling of the referendum results.