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Unease within independence camp as jailed leader cools on 'unilateral route'

Allies of jailed head of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, ask him to clarify stance


08 June 2021 12:47 PM



An op-ed by jailed leader and head of left-wing Esquerra Republicana, Oriol Junqueras, which was published in Ara newspaper on Monday, has caused a stir amongst fellow independence supporters.

In his piece entitled 'Looking to the future', Junqueras suggests he would be in favor of pardons for him and the eight others imprisoned for their role in the 2017 independence referendum deemed illegal by Spain, something that could happen in the coming weeks.

While preferring an amnesty that would absolve them from blame for their actions and put an end to "legal persecution," he acknowledges that "there are gestures that can ease the conflict."

"We must be aware that our actions were not considered to be fully legitimate by an important part of Catalans too," he writes, highlighting the need for greater understanding amongst all parties rather than seeking independence unilaterally.

"In order to become a state, it is essential to count on a majority of people in Catalonia."

Junts: No options should be rejected

According to Junts per Catalunya, which is in coalition with Esquerra, the independence movement has "the obligation" to not reject means to achieving their goal.

Party spokesperson Elsa Artadi responded to Junqueras' op-ed by stating that the best way to move forward would be with a referendum such as the one that took place in Scotland in 2014, which came following an agreement with the United Kingdom.

But given Spain's "unilateral" actions against the Catalan independence movement, she believes other options should not be ruled out.

CUP: pardons should not put an end to ambitions

Meanwhile, the far-left CUP party, whose support was key to guaranteeing an ERC-JxCat government, also believes Catalonia should not back down from seeking independence, even when there is no consensus to be found.

The anti-capitalists, who responded in the form of an article called 'A future without renunciations', argue that pardons for the jailed leaders must not put an end to independence aspirations.

ANC: ERC "must clarify stance"

Elisenda Paluzie, the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), one of the largest pro-independence civil society organizations, believes Esquerra "must clarify its stance" regarding how to achieve a split from Spain.
"Unfortunately, a route that is agreed upon with Spain, who we are confronting, is not possible," she said.


  • Junts per Catalunya spokesperson Elsa Artadi (Courtesy of JxCat)

  • Junts per Catalunya spokesperson Elsa Artadi (Courtesy of JxCat)