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The People's Party offer to form a grand coalition against Catalonia's independence is only accepted by UPyD

On Friday, in Badalona (Greater Barcelona), the Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, launched the idea to form a wide-spectrum coalition against secession in the next Catalan elections, which should unite all of the parties opposing independence from Spain. However, it has been rejected by the main parties which were targeted, and only the Spanish nationalist UPyD, which gets marginal results in Catalonia, has welcomed the initiative. According to Cospedal, this united list should bring together the PP (running the Spanish Government), UPyD, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist C's, and the Christian-Democrat UDC, which is part of the two-party centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. The PSC and UDC – which recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination - have totally rejected the idea. Even so, the PP's leader stated that "in Catalonia there is an undercover dictatorship", pushing for "a single way of thinking".

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05 September 2014 10:08 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Friday, in Badalona (Greater Barcelona), the Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, launched the idea to form a wide-spectrum coalition against secession in the next Catalan elections, which should unite all of the parties opposing independence from Spain. However, it has been rejected by the main parties which were targeted, and only the Spanish nationalist UPyD, which gets marginal results in Catalonia, has welcomed the initiative. According to Cospedal, this united list should bring together the PP (running the Spanish Government), UPyD, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist C's, and the Christian-Democrat UDC, which is part of the two-party centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. The PSC and UDC – which recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination - have totally rejected the idea. The UDC leader said that the PP "hasn't understood anything" and the PSC has asked the PP "to build bridges and not create fronts". In addition, in the same event, the PP has compared Catalonia with "an undercover dictatorship" and has insisted in linking the self-determination process with fiscal fraud cases.


The PP states that there is an "undercover dictatorship" in Catalonia

On Friday, at the opening of the two-day political conference that the conservative and Spanish nationalist party is carrying out in Greater Barcelona less than a week before the massive pro-independence demonstration, De Cospedal stated that "in Catalonia there is an undercover dictatorship", pushing for "a single way of thinking". "A country does not consist in being all equal as the Catalan independence movement wants", she said. "Whoever does not think the same [as those supporting independence] becomes an enemy of Catalonia", added the 'number 2' of the PP. "This is totalitarianism and a dictatorship; an undercover one, but even so, it is", she concluded.

The statement comes from the leader of a party that was founded by a former Minister in Franco's Fascist and military dictatorship, in charge of the regime's police; from a party which has several of its past and current leaders with many family ties with Franco's dictatorship and which has been putting, and is still putting, many obstacles in the way of the investigation into the manifold crimes committed during the dictatorship, as the United Nations denounced a few months ago. In addition, De Cospedal's statement also comes the day after the Spanish Embassy in The Netherlands forced the Cervantes Institute in Utrecht to cancel the presentation of a novel about the one-year siege of Barcelona in 1714, after which Catalonia lost its self-government institutions.

Furthermore, the PP, which has many of its current and past leaders involved in judicial investigations for corruption (including members of the Spanish Government), has kept insisting in linking Catalonia's self-determination process with Jordi Pujol's confessed fiscal fraud as a way to tarnish this political and grass-roots movement. In the same political conference, the PP's Catalan leader, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, said that "the referendum of Mas [referring to Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government] has the same credibility as Pujol's ethics, which means zero". With this sentence she linked the self-determination process with the fiscal fraud confessed this July by the former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol, who chaired Catalonia's Executive between 1980 and 2003. The same strategy was used on Tuesday by the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, before the Spanish Parliament.

Rajoy insists that an independent Catalonia and Scotland would quit the EU

The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, approved this coalition from the NATO summit in Wales, where he said that Catalonia and Scotland "only share two things": they "will have to leave the European Union" and will suffer an "enormous drop" of their GDP and welfare levels if they become independent. "Apart from that", their situation is totally different, Rajoy concluded.

The PP buys into the idea of plebiscitary elections in Catalonia

The PP, which is totally opposed to Catalonia's self-determination process, seems to buy into the idea of plebiscitary elections in case that the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled for the 9th of November, does not take place in the end. On Friday, the PP's Secretary General announced that the offer to launch an anti-independence grand coalition. In the eyes of De Cospedal, this would bring together all the parties who are against "the barbarity" of Catalonia's independence from Spain, she said. According to her, the grand coalition should be formed by the PP (which holds 14% of the Catalan Parliament's seats), the PSC (holding 15% of the seats), C's (6.5% of the seats), the UPyD (with 0% of seats) and UDC, which has been running together with CDC for the last 37 years within the CiU coalition, which has run the Catalan Government since 2010. The UDC has about a quarter of the CiU MPs (37% of the Catalan Parliament), meaning it would hold around 13% of the seats.

However, the UDC and the PSC do back Catalonia's right to self-determination, which has been totally rejected by the PP, C's and UPyD. On top of this, the PSC ran in the last elections, supporting a legal self-determination vote, although in the last year – giving in to the great pressures from the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)- the Catalan party's leadership did not support November's vote. In addition, the UDC does explicitly support the self-determination consultation vote of November, and would back the creation of a Catalan State. However, there are internal discussions within the party on whether this Catalan State should be independent from Spain or not. The UDC's main leader, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, has stated on several occasions that he is personally against independence, but other leading figures within the Christian-Democrat force have backed independence or are saying that the party should not have an official stance on this specific issue.

The UDC and PSC reject the idea

In any case, the UDC and the PSC have totally rejected the PP's idea. Duran i Lleida said on Friday via Twitter that De Cospedal's offer "proves that they haven't understood anything" about what is going on in Catalonia. "They [the PP] don't know the difference between chalk and cheese", he stated. Furthermore, UDC's Deputy Secretary General, Toni Font, emphasised that the Christian-Democrats "share" with the Liberal party CDC (with whom they form the governing CiU) "the electoral commitment to organise a legal" self-determination consultation vote. "De Conspedal hasn't understood anything or doesn't want to understand what is being asked by a large majority of the Catalan society: being able to vote", he stressed. The Secretary General of the PSC, Miquel Iceta, told De Cospedal via Twitter that "now it's time to rebuild bridges and not to create fronts" between Catalonia and Spain, rejecting the PP's initiative.

The President of C's, Albert Rivera, answered to De Cospedal's offer to form a coalition by saying that he is still waiting for a reply to the offer he sent to the PP and the PSC one year ago to build a pact against the self-determination process. "A year ago I sent a request to Mariano Rajoy to form a pact among parties defending the Constitution, and I am still waiting for an answer", he stressed. In fact, this populist and Spanish nationalist party has insisted on several occasions that they should form a coalition with the PP and PSC so that they can prepare to run against the Catalan Government together in the future. However, on Friday, he ruled out an electoral coalition but stated that, after the elections, the C's would be happy to study the options to form a government pact with the PP and the PSC.

UPyD, which compares Catalonia with Nazi Germany, will "study" the proposal

The President of UPyD, Rosa Díez, who met with Rajoy on Wednesday "to talk about Catalonia", said that she is "willing to study […] cooperation formulas" among "parties who defend the unity of the nation and protect Catalan citizens threatened by their own government". This Spanish nationalist party, which gets a marginal amount of votes in Catalonia, could merge with the C's in the future, although Díez currently opposes this union. Furthermore, on Wednesday the UPyD leader emphasised that she has already told Rajoy that they "will collaborate" in "defending the unity of the nation". Díez has compared the Catalan self-determination process with Nazism in the past, including in speeches before the Spanish Parliament. Furthermore, she has been asking to suspend Catalonia's autonomy during the last two years, and has proposed to launch penal actions against the current Catalan Government and parties supporting independence.

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  • María Dolores de Cospedal (centre) arriving at Badalona's conference centre (by P. Mateos)

  • María Dolores de Cospedal (centre) arriving at Badalona's conference centre (by P. Mateos)