Roadmap after 27-S: What do pro-independence forces agree on?
Two weeks after the 27-S Catalan elections, the debate on who will be the next President is still bogged down. Pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ (‘Together For Yes’), which won the elections but didn’t get an absolute majority, confirmed that Artur Mas was their candidate to run for President. However, radical left CUP have repeatedly stated that they won’t instate Mas as President, as an independent Catalonia needs a leader “who can’t be identified with cuts, corruption and privatisations”. “Now we are extremely focused on the content, the what, when, and how” stated CUP’s leader Antonio Baños, in an interview with 'Catalunya Ràdio'. Simultaneously, in another radio interview, ‘Junts Pel Sí’ lead member Raül Romeva assured that he “agrees with almost everything” regarding CUP’s roadmap towards independence and insisted that choosing a candidate to be President “is now secondary”.
Barcelona (CNA).- Pro-independence forces are still managing the 27-S elections’ results and because pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ won the elections but didn’t get a majority of seats in the parliament, negotiations with radical left CUP have become crucial. “Now we are extremely focused on the content, the what, when, and how” stated radical left CUP’s leader Antonio Baños, in an interview with 'Catalunya Ràdio' and repeated that they won’t instate Artur Mas as President. Simultaneously, in another radio interview, pro-independence unitary list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ lead member Raül Romeva assured that he “agrees with almost everything” regarding CUP’s roadmap towards independence and insisted that choosing a candidate to be President “is now secondary”.
The 27-S Catalan elections showed a majoritarian support for pro-independence forces. Cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, topped by former MEP Raül Romeva and including President Mas in fourth position, won the elections with almost 40% of votes. However, they didn’t obtain an absolute majority and the 62 seats they obtained weren’t enough and required them to negotiate with other forces the very first step: choosing a President. ‘Junts Pel Sí’ insisted that their candidate was Artur Mas but also admitted that “the responsibility is shared”, directly inviting CUP to design a joint roadmap towards independence. “What matters now is if we could set up a roadmap together” stated Mas.
CUP’s position hasn’t changed since the electoral campaign. The radical left party have repeatedly insisted that they won’t instate Mas as President and emphasised that “the priority” was what to do after the democratic mandate of the 27-S, when to start the independence process and how to proceed. “Now we are extremely focused on the content, the what, when, and how rather than negotiating who” stated CUP’s leader, Antonio Baños, in an interview with 'Catalunya Ràdio' this Friday.
CUP's roadmap: “This is not about names or charges”
Radical left pro-independence CUP support for ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and President Mas’ candidacy for President would bring an absolute majority for pro-independence forces in the Parliament. Although CUP and ‘Junts Pel Sí’ agreed to have common views regarding Catalonia’s independence process, number two of the party Anna Gabriel stated that the Catalan President “has to be a person who can’t be identified with cuts, corruption and privatisations” and insisted that CUP “won’t instate Mas as President”. Gabriel has also spoke of the possibility of making a “choral government” with four or five people “which are at the same level, the first line” of politics.
This week, CUP decided to break the silence they kept during all last week and announced its roadmap and the state of the negotiations with ‘Junts Pel Sí’ at a public conference. “First we have to talk about the constitutive process towards the Catalan Republic, the social emergency plan and the breakaway strategy” stated Anna Gabriel “we will discuss who will be the President later”. “This is not about founding new autonomic government, nor names nor charges. This is about sovereignty, about rights and about building a republic” she said and added that “nobody will be left over” in the “collective” government they expect to have.
CUP’s roadmap towards independence no longer includes a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (DUI), as after the 27-S elections, the party admitted that the victory of ‘Yes’ to independence wasn’t big enough to start such a process. However, they support a “break with the legal system” which they consider to be “inherited from Franco’s dictatorship”. CUP’s number six, Benet Salellas, assured that “when to break or how to do it” could be discussed but “to break with the existing legal system is the only way to make this process irreversible”. He also called for the Catalan government to stop obeying the Spain’s Constitutional Court decisions and declare “its absolute incompetence”.
Finally, the new Catalan Republic will have to stop “the wild privatisation” that the sanitary sector, amongst others, “has suffered in the last years”, stated CUP member Eulàlia Reguant. “We won’t amend in two weeks what hasn’t been done badly in the last forty years but also during the last four" she warned, referring to Artur Mas privatisation policy.
‘Junts Pel Sí’: "We agree with CUP's roadmap in almost everything"
Despite being the most voted party in the 27-S elections with more than 1.5 million votes, pro-independence unitary list 'Junts Pel Sí' obtained 62 seats in the Catalan parliament and therefore requires left pro-independence CUP’s support in order to invest Mas as President. This first hurdle is what has shown the biggest differences between both parties and has been the focus of the debate since the electoral campaign.
Short after the election day, President Mas, whom was fourth on the 'Junts Pel Sí' list, stated that “what matters now is to know if these 72 MPS could set up a roadmap together” he stated, referring to the sum of the 62 ‘Junts Pel Sí’ MPs and the 10 representatives obtained by CUP. “Everybody knows that this is the priority now”, he assured. After nearly two weeks of exchanged statements between the two main pro-independence forces, with 'Junts Pel Sí' presenting Mas as their only candidate, this Friday ‘Junts Pel Sí’ lead member Raül Romeva assured that he “agrees with almost everything” regarding CUP’s roadmap towards independence and insisted that choosing a candidate to run for President “is now secondary”. "I'm sure we will reach an agreement and find a formula to come to an understanding on the matter of who will be the President" he stated and reminded listeners that he has never been a candidate for the Catalan presidency. In a radio interview with 'Rac 1', Romeva assured that they share CUP's point of view regarding "the irreversible moment" that Catalonia is facing and also the common "responsibility" after the 27-S elections' mandate.
He described CUP's public conference as "very clear and responsible" and added that "it shows that CUP has been incorrectly accused of being immature too many times". "The most important thing now is the what, the when and the how" he stated agreeing with CUP's priority "and all the rest will be subjected to that". Romeva admitted that the magnitude of the project requires agreement on who but emphasised that "this is not about a name but about many names".
Regarding the disobeying process that CUP's urges to start, Romeva stated that "this can be said or can be done" and highlighted that the Catalan government has already started disobeying legal decisions, such as the deficit target imposed by the Spanish government which they are already failing to meet.
Ciutadans: "We are worried about the radicals' proposals"
Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, the second force in the 27-S elections, gave a press conference this morning. Ciutadans' leader and future head of the opposition Inés Arrimadas asked 'Junts Pel Sí' to "think again" and "not to obey" CUP's requirements, as they would represent "a break with democracy and the constitutional order" and would immediately lead to "expulsion from the EU". Arrimadas admitted to being "worried" about these two forces’ potential agreement and added that if they reach "a limit" the Spanish State would have to use "all the democratic instruments at its disposal" to answer them.
PP: "Mas has caused a terrible situation in Catalonia"
"This is nonsense, an absurdity we have been driven to by Artur Mas and his partners" stated Spanish People's Party (PP)'s spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Rafael Hernando. "It has caused a terrible situation in Catalonia" he concluded. In an interview with Spanish Public Television TVE, Hernando accused President Mas of forcing 'Junts Pel Sí' to agree with "the most radicals" which set out "an absolutely delirious Catalonia". Following this, President of the PP in Catalonia, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho urged Catalan businessmen and social entities to pressure Artur Mas to avoid him "reaching agreements with the radicals, anti-establishment and pro-Chavez" CUP "whom want to abolish private property and break with the constitutional order in Spain".