Raül Romeva, former Eco-Socialist MEP, will top the unitary pro-independence electoral list
Former Member of the European Parliament Raül Romeva, who also used to be a member of the Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, will be heading the pro-independence unitary list formed for the next Catalan elections by the Liberal party CDC, the Social-Democrat ERC, the Socialist MES and the Christian-Democrat DC with leading representatives from civil society. Civil society activists Carme Forcadell and Muriel Casals will come second and third respectively. The elections, scheduled for 27 September, will become a 'de facto' referendum on independence, after almost 3 years of the Spanish Government unilaterally blocking any discussion for a mutually agreed vote, despite the clear democratic mandate from the 2012 Catalan elections, when citizens voted overwhelmingly for parties supporting a legal self-determination vote. After months of discussions, almost all the pro-independence forces are uniting and forming a shared list to transform the next elections into an independence plebiscite.
Barcelona (ACN).- Former Member of the European Parliament Raül Romeva, who also used to be a member of the Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, will be heading the pro-independence unitary list for the next Catalan elections formed by the Liberal party CDC, the Social-Democrat ERC, the Socialist MES and the Christian-Democrat DC with leading representatives from civil society. This electoral call is supposed to become a 'de facto' plebiscite on Catalonia's independence from Spain. Civil society activists Carme Forcadell and Muriel Casals – who were chairing the two grassroots organisations behind the massive pro-independence demonstrations organised each September since 2012 – will come second and third respectively. Forcadell was the President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) until last May and Casals is still the President of Òmnium Cultural. The current President of the Catalan Government and CDC leader, Artur Mas, will be on the list in 4th position, although the agreement foresees that he will be re-elected President even if Romeva is heading the candidature. The leader of the ERC, Oriol Junqueras, is in 5th position. The 6th and 7th positions have not been disclosed yet but they should be occupied by civil society representatives. Then, the rest of the positions would be split 60% for CDC and 40% for the ERC, according to the average results obtained by the two parties in the last 3 elections. The CDC and the ERC would also give some of their places on the list to MES and DC politicians.
The forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September, will become a 'de facto' referendum on independence, after almost 3 years of the Spanish Government unilaterally blocking any discussion for a mutually agreed vote, despite the clear democratic mandate from the 2012 Catalan elections. Back then, citizens voted overwhelmingly for parties supporting a legal self-determination referendum (80% of the newly elected Parliament), after these elections were organised precisely to vote on the possibility of organising such a referendum. Now, after many attempts to negotiate with the Spanish institutions, the Catalan Parliament elections seem the only way to hold such a vote.
After months of discussions - and public disagreements - to discuss the best strategy and formula, as well as the steps to build an independent state, almost all the pro-independence forces are uniting and forming a shared list in order to transform the next elections into a plebiscite on independence. The main force missing is the radical independence and alternative left party CUP, which rejected being part of a unitary list with active politicians such as the Liberal current Catalan President, Artur Mas. The CUP will run on their own whilst also clearly and unequivocally supporting independence. If the pro-independence list wins, Catalan institutions will start the disconnection from Spain, which should be doable between 6 and 8 months after the elections, according to this week's agreement between CDC and ERC.
The unitary list will therefore be topped by Raül Romeva, who was one of the most active members of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2014. Romeva holds a PhD in International Relations and has a Bachelor’s in Economics. He also possesses wide experience in international conflict resolution and disarmament processes. Furthermore, during his years in the European Parliament as member of the Greens group he also developed significant environmentalist activity, with a particular emphasis on fishing policies and maritime resources. In 2014, he was no longer the ICV candidate in the European elections, after spending 10 years travelling between Brussels, Strasbourg and Barcelona.
Romeva used to be a member of Eco-Socialist ICV
In late 2014, ICV started to distance itself from Catalonia's self-determination process, to which it had been giving its support since then. This political manoeuvre coincided with the impact at Spanish level of the recently created alternative left party Podemos, which was threatening ICV's electoral base. Until last February, ICV was ambiguous about independence, with some of its leaders supporting it and others not. In February, ICV took the decision to support a federal Spain, with Catalonia forming part of it, and stated that if this were not to work in the future, then they may envisage supporting independence.
A few days later, Romeva quit the party on account of their lack of support for independence. When asked about it in several interviews, Romeva stated that he started to support independence when he understood that Spain would not fully accept and defend Catalan language and culture, as proven by the constant obstacles to its recognition by the European Parliament.