'The Catalan elected representatives are targets of legal persecution,' says Catalan parliamentary speaker
Carme Forcadell speaks in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie
Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell complained that Catalan elected representatives are targets of legal persecution, in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) on July 9 in Luxembourg.
Forcadell accused the Spanish government of wanting the Catalan Parliament to “censor” legislative proposals from Catalan MPs and prohibiting debates at the plenary chamber. “These are demands that we refuse to comply with in order to preserve the parliament’s sovereignty, freedom of expression, freedom of ideas and the MPs’ right of initiative,” she said.
Along with four other members of the Parliamentary board who allowed the plenary chamber to adopt two resolutions in favour of the referendum on independence, Forcadell has been charged with perverting the course of justice and defying the Spanish Constitutional Court. Forcadell, who is currently being investigated by Catalonia’s High Court of Justice, said the situation is “unusual.”
Forcadell also referred to the rulings against former Catalan president Artur Mas and former ministers Joana Ortega, Irene Rigau, and Francesc Homs, who have been barred from holding public office for helping organize a non-binding vote on the issue of Catalan independence on 9 November 2016. “This is the Spanish government’s response to the majority of Catalan citizens, who want a referendum on independence to be held,” she said.
“This is the Spanish government’s response to the majority of Catalan citizens, who want a referendum on independence to be held”
Catalan Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell
Forcadell spoke in front of representatives of some 30 parliaments from across the world, including France, Canada, and Quebec. The APF is a representative body of the International Organization of La Francophonie, which represents countries and regions with a francophone population or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture.
The Catalan Parliament joined the APF in 2008 as a permanent observer. Forcadell will participate in the two-day APF meeting in Luxembourg starting on July 10.
Forcadell also met her Québécois counterpart, the Speaker of Quebec’s National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon. According to the Catalan Parliament, both political leaders have agreed to foster cooperation between Catalonia and Quebec following an agreement signed in 2002 by the two regions’ parliamentary chambers.
The 2002 agreement highlighted “similarities between Catalonia and Quebec.” Quebec, which joined the Canadian confederation in 1867, is the only province with a predominantly French-speaking population in largely English-speaking Canada. Just like Catalonia, some parties in Quebec also favor the region’s independence, such as the Parti Québécois (Quebecer Party). Under their leadership, the governments of Quebecheld referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995, both of which were voted down by voters.