Solemn plenary session in Parliament to mark 90th anniversary of modern chamber
Former Catalan presidents and speakers attend event to honor institution that was banned during four-decade Franco regime
The Catalan parliament has hosted a solemn plenary session full of guests to mark the 90th anniversary of the chamber in its current format.
Government members, current and former MPs, former Catalan presidents and former speakers attended the event – all parties participated except for far-right Vox.
The current Catalan leader, Pere Aragonès, said that 90 years ago Catalonia "began the path of democracy and freedom, seeking the progress of everyone, and offering prosperity, a better life, more decent and happy."
"We cannot stop seeking this path," he said.
A video of Francesc Macià, the first Catalan head of government elected by the chamber in 1932, was also played during the event, and members of all attending parties took the floor to discuss democracy, parliamentarism, current hot topics, but also history.
Catalan parliamentarism dates back to 13th century
Indeed, the Catalan parliament has a long history, because its inaugural session was held on December 6, 1932, after the first election on November 20 – yet, the roots of parliamentarism date back to between the 13th and 18th century Catalan Courts, which were abolished after 1714 and self-rule was halted for almost 200 years.
The first elected speaker was Lluís Companys, who became Catalan president in 1934, until 1940, when he was captured by the Nazis while in France on exile after the Spanish Civil War, and executed by dictator Francisco Franco's regime in Barcelona.
In 1939, the Spanish second republic regime, supported by Catalonia's president and institutions, lost the war to Franco, a general who had led an uprising in the whole of Spain.
Parliament operated from 1932 to 1939, when was banned until 1980
The parliament was subsequently banned, and only survived in exile by a handful of representatives with no real powers, until democracy was restored in the late 1970s when Franco died.
The first Catalan election was held in March 1980, and the chamber opened again and has kept uninterruptedly working to date.
One of the guests that raised more expectations was Jordi Pujol, the man who was in fact elected president by lawmakers in 1980 after the first democratic election.
The 92-year-old spent 23 years in office and has been entangled in a corruption case for almost a decade now.