MPs reject Mas' candidacy again

November 12, 2015 03:53 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

For the first time in the Parliament's history, a candidate for President hasn't obtained a majority in the second round. This Thursday, 73 MPs from the 135 in the Catalan chamber refused to re-elect current President Artur Mas, which is exactly the same result that the candidate got in the first round of the investiture debate. The only MPs who supported Mas' candidacy were the 62 of the pro-independence cross-party list, 'Junts Pel Sí'. Their partner in the roadmap towards independence, radical left CUP, repeated their 'no' to Mas, as they repeatedly announced they would. In the following weeks, the parliamentary groups will hold meetings to choose an alternative candidate, but if one is not chosen before the 10th of January, the Parliament will have to call elections again.

Spokesperson Bureau convened for this Tuesday to reactivate the pro-independence proposal

November 2, 2015 02:25 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, has convened the Spokesperson Bureau for this Tuesday, even though Catalonia’s People’s Party (PPC) haven’t yet constituted themselves as a parliamentary group. The aim is to respond to the appeals made by Catalan Socialist Party PSC and Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, which have urged reconsideration of the approval of the pro-independence forces agreed declaration on starting the independence process. The decision to convene the Spokesperson Bureau, and reactivate the debate on the proposal, arrived after PPC’s handed over of a writ of protection before the Spanish Constitutional Court. According to PPC’s leader, Xavier García Albiol, they took such an action to “avoid the celebration of the plenary session”to debate the pro-independence proposal as “it is absolutely outside of the basic rules of democracy”.

Spain’s National Day celebrations in Barcelona smaller than in the last years

October 12, 2015 03:13 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Nearly 4,000 Spanish unity supporters and extreme-right forces gathered this Monday in Barcelona’s ‘Plaça de Catalunya’to celebrate Spain’s National Day. Although this time neither the Spanish People’s Party (PP) nor anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans confirmed their attendance, the PP’s leader in Catalonia, Xavier Garcia Albiol, in the end took part in the rally, together with other PP members. With the slogan ‘Barcelona, capital city of Spanishness’, members of Falange –the fascist party of Franco, which is still legal in today’s Spain, groups opposing Catalonia’s independence and retired soldiers displayed Spanish flags, shouted ‘Catalonia is Spain’ and burnt pro-independence flags in the centre of the square. Spain’s National Day commemorates the day Columbus landed in America, in 1492. In Madrid there is a big army exhibition but in the last years the day has been regarded as opposition to Catalonia’s push for independence and other regions of Spain’s exaltation of Spanish nationalism and the denial of other regions autonomy, especially Catalonia and Basque Country.   

27-S elections: Everything ready for a historic day

September 25, 2015 07:57 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The number of lists running for the 27-S Catalan elections is lower than the last time around in 2012; dropping from 79 candidacies to the 40 lists running this year. Moreover, there are many new candidacies that have been designed for the occasion according to the historic nature of the elections that will function as a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence. For the first time ever, new coalitions have been made and civil society organisations have entered the fray.

Party Review – PPC, the Catalan branch of the Conservative People’s Party

September 16, 2015 05:15 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

In the last Catalan elections, in 2012, the PPC got their best results ever, increasing from 18 to 19 seats in the 135-seat Catalan Parliament. The PP was already ruling the Spanish government by that time and its politics regarding Catalonia’s sovereignty were harsh and recentralising. For the upcoming 27-S elections the PPC has changed its candidate: Xavier García Albiol, former mayor of Badalona, the third city in Catalonia, substitutes Alicia Sánchez Camacho. Albiol represents the more extreme faction of the PPC and he has been accused of being xenophobic by his political opponents. He is openly against the independence of Catalonia: he thinks the process is “a romantic adventure led by Artur Mas” and he aims to stand up for those “millions of Catalans who don’t want to stop being Spanish”.


PP’s reform of the Constitutional Court is a threat “to the rule of law”, warns Mas

September 2, 2015 01:33 PM | ACN

The Catalan President, Artur Mas, recognised that he is the target of the law reform that the conservative People’s Party (PP) announced on Tuesday, which he described as a threat to the rule of law. The project aims at the Court being able to suspend or fine politicians who disobey Constitutional Court rulings. According to the PP, it is unconstitutional to ask Catalans if they want to separate from Spain, let alone to declare independence. Mas stated that the PP “wants to destroy the rule of law” with this decision that he regarded as an old-fashioned way of doing politics more proper of “the Inquisition” than of a democratic country. President Mas will appear before the Parliament this afternoon to defend his decision to call elections on the 27th of September. The Catalan President will answer questions from members of parliament about the poll, which pro-independence groups consider as a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. The PP has also warned that it will ask Mas about the Spanish Guardia Civil search that took place last week in the headquarters of his party CDC and the President’s party Foundation CatDem.

The PP to urgently reform the law to be able to suspend Mas from office

September 1, 2015 07:00 PM | ACN

The candidate for the conservative People's Party (PP) in the upcoming Catalan elections, Xavier García Albiol, presented on Tuesday a proposal to reform the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) Law and make sure that its rulings are adhered to by civil servants and politicians. García Albiol admitted that the plan is especially designed to stop Catalan President Artur Mas’ push for independence, which unionists say is unconstitutional. “It’s a clear message to those who want to break Catalonia away from the rest of Spain: the joke is over”, he warned. The reform will be passed urgently by the Spanish Parliament this month, and will set in place the mechanisms and resources needed to take action against those who don’t obey the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Civil servants or politicians that ignore rulings may face fines or even suspension from office. The Catalan Government spokeswoman described the TC’s reform plan as a decision taken because of the election on the 27th of September, and regretted that it only adds more “repression, threats and fear” to the political debate.

PP chooses controversial former Mayor to run in Catalan elections, despite his xenophobic statements

July 28, 2015 09:53 PM | ACN

The conservative People's Party – which runs the Spanish Government – has chosen Xavier García Albiol, whose statements have been called xenophobic by many, to top its candidature for the next Catalan Parliament elections and run for President of the Catalan Government. García Albiol, who was Mayor of Badalona between 2011 and 2015, will replace the leader of the PP's Catalan branch, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, who is currently involved in a dirty political espionage case. A few weeks ago it was said that the PP would stick with Sánchez-Camacho to run in the next Catalan Elections, scheduled for 27 September and likely to be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence from Spain. However, after the rest of the main parties chose new faces to top their candidatures, the PP is doing the same and has picked García Albiol, who lost Badalona's mayoral office in May, despite being the most voted candidate, as he was unable to achieve an absolute majority.

Cosmopolitan Catalonia: a long history of attracting newcomers from worldwide

March 17, 2015 08:48 PM | Nell English

Catalonia has a long history with immigration, welcoming foreigners from all over the world has left it with a cosmopolitan and multicultural nature. In more recent years, immigration has been well-documented by the Catalan Government and official statistics, which show various patterns. The first wave of people arriving in Catalonia, especially in the industrial capital of Barcelona, were domestic immigrants from within Spain, while later many came from South America and Northern Africa. The recent economic crisis caused a lull in these figures, but the number of foreign nationals from Asia and Europe (especially Italy and the UK) has increased over more recent years. Conscious of the need for sustainable co-living, Catalonia taken pains to accommodate its diverse population and the ACN spoke to several people about their experience moving to Barcelona.

One of the main members of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia to go on trial for xenophobia

April 13, 2013 01:02 AM | CNA

Xavier García Albiol, the Mayor of Badalona – Catalonia’s third largest city and attached to Barcelona – will go on trial accused of the felonies of provocation of hate, discrimination and violence as well as of collective provocative slander. In 2010, before the last municipal elections, García Albiol distributed leaflets that allegedly related Romanian immigrants to crime. During the electoral campaign, he mostly focused his speech on fighting crime and stopping “illegal immigration”. The campaign created a huge controversy in Catalonia and García Albiol was the most voted-for candidate, although with far from an absolute majority. He became the Mayor of Badalona and for the first time ever the People’s Party obtained the mayorship of one of Catalonia’s top 20 most populated cities.