Major union warns of authoritarian turn in Spain

CCOO accuses ruling PP of taking advantage of Catalan crisis

CCOO flags in a demostration in November 2016 (by Rafa Garrido)
CCOO flags in a demostration in November 2016 (by Rafa Garrido) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 10, 2018 02:51 PM

A major trade union has warned that Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP) is taking advantage of the political crisis in Catalonia to prompt an authoritarian turn which undermines the judicial system.

CCOO (Workers’ Commissions) cites the trials against union members, the passing of the so-called gag law, recent decisions by Spain’s attorney general in relation to freedom of speech, as well as the crackdown on pro-independence leaders.

The trade union also calls for the formation of a new government in Catalonia as a precondition for resolving the political conflict and de-escalating the “tensions caused by the judicialization of politics.”

Catalonia has been without a government since Madrid imposed direct rule on the region following a declaration of independence last October. Pro-independence parties held on to a majority in parliament in a subsequent election, but Spanish courts have blocked all their attempts to appoint a new president.

Although CCOO conceded that they share with pro-independence parties some concerns over the situation in Spain, the union also stressed that it rejects unilateral means to achieve independence. According to CCOO, the priority should be to “leave partisan politics aside and deal with the situation in Catalonia with sights set high.”

While stressing its support for the Spanish justice system, CCOO criticized courts for prosecuting individuals with the most severe criminal offences, as well as using preemptive prison as a measure against Catalan leaders.

CCOO also warns of “radicalization symptoms” in the streets of Catalonia, due to PP’s lack of political action, thus prompting the intervention of judges instead.