Swearing jailed Sànchez in “possible,” says Esquerra
Catalonia has no president yet three months after the election
Pro-independence Esquerra party believes that swearing in the jailed MP Jordi Sànchez as president is “perfectly possible.” Sànchez is the nominated candidate for the post, but the parliamentary debate to elect him has not been held. He asked the judge in charge of his case for permission to attend the Catalan chamber but it was denied. While waiting for the outcome of an appeal in Spain’s Supreme Court, the pro-independence parties are discussing whether it is worth waiting for longer or it would be better to nominate for the post another MP.
In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), the deposed minister and current MP for Esquerra, Raül Romeva, said that there are formulas to swear him in despite Spain’s opposition. Sànchez’s candidacy, Junts per Catalunya, confirmed earlier this week in Brussels that they would not change their candidate and Esquerra supports its decision. Junts per Catalunya is the main pro-independence force in the Catalan Parliament.
Direct rule since October 2017
Yet during the interview, Raül Romeva he said that his investiture has to be “effective,” that is, he has to be able to take office and govern, rather than being “symbolic.” In fact, the deposed minister, who spent 32 days in pre-trial jail last November for the independence case, said that any “gesture” has to mean getting the Catalan institutions restored. The country has been directly ruled from Madrid from October 27, 2017. Following the declaration of independence, Mariano Rajoy removed all members of the Catalan executive.
"To think that by judicial pressure, threats, lawsuits, penalties and disqualifications this peaceful and democratic force will decline is not only unfair but also useless"
Raül Romeva · Catalan deposed foreign minister
The pro-independence parties got the absolute majority of seats in the Catalan chamber in last December election. Yet they fell short of getting the absolute majority of votes (47.5%). The unionist forces got the 43.5% of ballots, while the non-aligned Catalunya en Comú and other minor candidacies achieved 9% of support. During the interview, Romeva said that 47.5% of the votes “does not allow doing everything” and emphasized that the Catalan Republic has to be build “without excluding anyone.”
Leaders five months behind bars
He also commented on the current independence case, involving 28 high-ranking officials in Spain’s Supreme Court and some 30 more officials in a Barcelona local court, along with the leadership of the Catalan police in Spain’s National Court. “To think that by judicial pressure, threats, lawsuits, penalties and disqualifications this peaceful and democratic force will decline, it is not only unfair but also useless,” Romeva said. Pro-independence grassroots leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart have been now five months in jail, since October 16, 2017. The deposed ministers Oriol Junqueras and Joaquim Forn have been behind bars four and a half months, since November 2.