Puigdemont laments in Paris that “being democratic in Spain is a risky sport”
“It is unbelievable that being democratic in Spain is nowadays a risky sport”, stated Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont this Tuesday during an official trip to Paris. After meeting the leader of the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), Jean Christophe Lagarde, Puigdemont lamented “Spain’s democratic weakness” but admitted that it “is not surprising”. In the same vein, Puigdemont gave an address on Monday at the centre of political studies of Sciences Po in Paris and denounced the “judicial persecution” that the Catalan politicians who defend the independence process must face. “The legal framework must be at the service of democracy and not the other way around”, he said and lamented the recent demands from the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) to file a complaint against Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote.
Paris (CNA).- Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, lamented “Spain’s democratic weakness” and denounced the “judicial persecution” of Catalan pro-independence leaders during an official trip to Paris. “It is unbelievable that being democratic in Spain is nowadays a risky sport”, he stated before the press, right after meeting the leader of the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), Jean Christophe Lagarde, in the French capital. On Monday, Puigdemont gave an address at the centre of political studies of Sciences Po in Paris and referred to the recent demands from the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) to file a complaint against Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote. "Catalonia is legally defenceless", he stated, adding that he considered "unacceptable and contrary to the democratic will of Catalans” Spain’s use of the Court to deal with Catalonia’s pro-independence demands. According to Puigdemont Spain’s "zero willingness to dialogue or negotiate” proves its “political immaturity”.
“It is not good that there is such a democratic weakness in Spain, that we have to face criminal charges for trying to be exercise democracy”, stated Puigdemont, adding that he considered this situation “a sad reality” which “is not surprising” but nonetheless “disappointing and disturbing”. “It is unbelievable that in Spain being democratic has to mean risking going to court, which is the case for former President Mas, former Vice President Ortega, former Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, former Vice President, Francesc Homs and now also for the President of the Catalan Parliament”, he lamented. However, he also pointed out that “using the state sewers gets them away spotlessly from any intention of clarification through tribunals or in politics”.
According to Puigdemont, this judicialisation of politics “describes well the situation of democracy in Spain and it is worrying”. “I believe that this increasing preoccupation is a cause for concern for us all, both those who want to remain in Spain and those who want to form an independent state”, he said. .
Meeting with UDI’s leader
After meeting the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) leader Jean Christophe Lagarde this Tuesday, Puigdemont emphasised that “there is much interest in understanding what’s going on in Catalonia”. “It is acknowledged that what is going on in Catalonia is for real and that it is even necessary to know about it, not just because France and Catalonia are neighbours but because of what Catalonia means for the whole of the EU”.
According to Puigdemont, “all the information from official Spanish sources” which reach the international actors “is not necessarily true” and that’s why these meeting with the Government’s representatives are necessary. “We are doing what we said we will do, enhancing the knowledge”, he said and admitted that the “recognition phase will arrive after holding the referendum and proclaiming independence”.
Address at Science Po
Carles Puigdemont gave on Monday a talk titled 'What future for Catalonia in Europe?' at the Sciences Po University in Paris. Coinciding with the day on which the Spanish Public Prosecutor ordered Catalonia’s Supreme Prosecutor to take legal action against the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, for alleged perversion of justice and disobedience, Puigdemont lamented the "persecution of Catalan politicians" who advocate for the independence process.
Spain’s Public Prosecutor, Consuelo Madrigal, considered Forcadell to have ignored the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) rulings when allowing the conclusions of the Committee to Study the Constitutive Process to be put to vote, last July. Indeed, she has already admitted her willingness to file a complaint for disobedience against Forcadell herself. However, following the TC’s demands, Madrigal has now urged the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) to undertake the investigation. In this vein, the Catalan President lamented the "constant legislative invasion" by the Constitutional Court, which according to the politician is “under orders from the Spanish Government" and "violates the most basic separation of powers". "The tribunal is chaired by a former member of the PP (People’s Party), composed of a majority of judges related to this party and a minority related to the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Party)", he reminded.
Puigdemont highlighted during his speech that the Catalan process is "completely peaceful and democratic" and that it "will ensure the legal security" of citizens, entrepreneurs, employees and investors. Furthermore, the Catalan President stated that the Government will never relinquish their hope for dialogue "with Spain, the EU and the international community”, but stressed that "the answer" to the conflict "will not come from Madrid, but will have to come from Europe, due to the nonappearance of Spain".
Puigdemont also remarked that his government wants to promote an "act to consolidate democracy that has nothing to do with nationalism”. "When a referendum is widely and consistently called for by a parliament to resolve a particular conflict, it is a suitable instrument", said the Catalan President. Puigdemont added that Catalonia wants to be a new state "within the EU" and ruled out "any other scenario, but this one". "Catalans are and will be Europeans. The EU is our political family, a home where we feel comfortable and where we share points of reference, values \u200B\u200Band principles", he said, adding that Catalans want to "participate in first-person" in the project of European construction.
Puigdemont argued that the independence of Catalonia "is a legitimate aspiration, as it has been for many other countries that have become independent in recent decades". "None of them, indeed, have wanted to go back. Now we want our chance”, said the president of the Generalitat, who stressed that Catalans have set out the process "with exemplarity, democracy, peacefully, with civility and respect, not as a problem but as an opportunity”.