Spanish police raids Catalan entity in money-laundering operation
The Madrid residency of Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, has also been targeted
The Madrid residency of Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, has also been targeted
Some of the 19 municipalities involved consider filing suits for perjury in response to “made up” testimonies
Representatives from several pro-independence civil society organisations joined Parliament President, Carme Forcadell, on her way to the Court. Forcadell testified this Friday for having allowed a democratic debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July. Pro-independence grass-roots organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) highlighted the wide support for the representative. Indeed, the President of AMI, Neus Lloveras, said that the backing for Forcadell was a “demonstration of the unity and strength” of the pro-independence movement in Catalonia. The president of the ANC, Jordi Sànchez, deemed Forcadell’s prosecution “absolutely unjustified” and the president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, said Catalonia is facing “a critical hour” and has to show “unity and firmness”.
The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) wants to internationalise the pro-independence process in Catalonia from the local sphere. It has therefore launched a campaign to explain the pro-independence process, the roadmap to achieve independence and the Catalan Government’s will to hold a referendum in September 2017. In an interview with the Catalan public radio station, Catalunya Ràdio, the president of the organisation, Neus Lloveras, detailed that the intention of the initiative is to report on the pro-independence process, avoiding the filters of Spanish diplomacy and amplifying the message of the Catalan local sphere worldwide. AMI started to send letters to the mayors of all the state capitals and the 100 largest cities in the world on Monday. In total, the organisation predicts that 548 mayors from five continents will receive a letter explaining the Catalan reality “without interference from Spain”.
Just when calling for new elections seemed to be unavoidable, cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left CUP have finally reached an agreement to resolve the presidency of the new Catalan government and launch the independence roadmap. Current Catalan President and ‘Junts Pel Sí’s number four, Artur Mas has decided to step aside and president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and mayor of Girona city, Carles Pugidemont, has been appointed as the candidate of consensus. In exchange, some of CUP’s MPs will resign in order to guarantee the stability of the new government. The investiture debate will take place on Sunday and a new President would have to be elected before midnight.
The main pro-independences civil associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) handed over 1.5 million signatures supporting Catalonia’s independence to the Council of Europe. The signatures were gathered during the non-binding referendum that took place on the 9th of November 2014. The pro-independence civil associations’representatives travelled to Strasbourg to denounce “the lack of democratic will of the Spanish State”and they reported on Catalonia’s situation to a delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The delivery of these signatures is the first international diplomatic action promoted by the ANC, Òmnium and the AMI. “The Catalan case is present in the European agenda”stated the ANC’s president, Jordi Sànchez, and added that “giving first-hand information from civil society is very important”.
Catalan President, Artur Mas, appeared this Thursday before the court, after being summonsed by Catalonia's Supreme Court for organising the 9-N symbolic vote in 2014. "The success and international impact of the 9-N consultation is what motivated this lawsuit" he stated "this summons responds to the Spanish Government's anger rather than legal reasons". Mas arrived at Barcelona's Courthouse by foot and was joined by the 400 Catalan mayors from the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) and the entire Catalan Government. Right in front of the Court, thousands of people displaying Catalan flags rallied around the President and openly showed their opposition to Catalonia's Supreme Court's decision to summons Mas, which has been regarded as a political decision. Mas appeared before the court two days after Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau and former vice-president Joana Ortega and right after attending the commemorative events for the 75th anniversary of President Companys' execution.
The main civil society organisations supporting independence have backed the creation of a single unitary list among the main forces aiming to transform the next Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September, into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. After months of discussions and public disagreements, there is finally a wide consensus that, even if it does not include all the pro-independence parties, is backed by a wide majority of them, ranging from Socialists to Christian-democrats and including Liberals. The list will be headed by an independent but will ultimately include active politicians as well as many members of civil society. The agreement was reached on Monday night between the Liberal party CDC – which runs the Catalan Government – and the Social-Democrat ERC – which has provided parliamentary support to the Executive since 2012. The incumbent Catalan President and CDC leader, Artur Mas, will form part of the list.
Catalonia's two main pro-independence parties, the Liberal CDC – which runs the Catalan Government – and the Social-Democrat ERC – which has been backing the Executive for the last 2 years – have finally reached an agreement about how to run in the next Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and called in order to become a 'de facto' referendum on independence from Spain. This is the only way left for Catalan citizens to hold a legal and free vote on the issue, after the Spanish Government has unilaterally blocked any discussion on the issue despite the clear democratic mandate of the last Catalan elections, held in November 2012, when an absolute majority of parties supporting the organisation of a legal self-determination referendum was elected. On Monday night, after months of discussions and public disagreements, the President of the Catalan Government and CDC leader, Artur Mas, and the leader of the ERC, Oriol Junqueras, finally reached an agreement to run together but in a unitary list to be formed by many independents and representatives from civil society.
On Monday, a summit among the main pro-independence parties and civil society organisations has been held at the Catalan President's office, the Generalitat Palace, in Barcelona. The meeting ended without a definitive agreement, although some attendees did say there was a "positive" atmosphere. An electoral list without professional politicians but grouping all the political sensitivities of the pro-independence forces is on the discussion table after days of intense public debate. This option is backed by the main civil society organisations promoting Catalonia's independence from Spain, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, as well as by the main pro-independence left-wing parties, namely the Social-Democrat ERC and the alternative left CUP. However, the governing Liberal party CDC is against this formula as it would exclude the incumbent Catalan President, Artur Mas, from running in the elections that he would call early in order to transform them into a 'de facto' referendum on independence.
Ada Colau, who leads the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, is very likely to become the Catalan capital's next Mayor, with there not being enough ground on which to build an alternative majority. Colau won Sunday’s elections by obtaining 11 seats in the 41-seat City Council, just 1 seat more than the incumbent Mayor from the centre-right pro-Catalan State Coalition CiU, Xavier Trias. In the last days, the People's Party – which runs the Spanish Government – and some economic powers have been pressuring for the building of an alternative majority led by Trias. However, the essential parties involved do not support the idea. In order to facilitate her election, Colau has cleared up any doubt surrounding her fully supporting the continuing of the Mobile World Congress, the world's main event of the mobile phone-related industries, which will take place each year in Barcelona until 2018. Colau has validated the offer prepared by Trias' team to extend the organisation of the congress until at least 2023.
The alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú, led by activist Ada Colau, has won the municipal elections in the Catalan capital by a close margin. The green and post-communist coalition has obtained 11 representatives, far from the 21 seat absolute majority, and governing will depend on the forming of a coalition. Colau defined her victory as that of "David against Goliath". She also stressed her commitment to Catalonia's right to self-determination. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which was holding the mayoral office, has gone from 14 to 10 seats. The anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's) will enter the City Council for the first time, having obtained 5 seats. The social-democrat independence party ERC has also obtained 5 seats, 3 more than in 2011. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) has gone from 11 to 4 seats. The People's Party (PP) has gone from 9 to only 3 representatives. The radical independence and alternative left party CUP will also sit on the City Council for the first time, with 3 seats.
There may be a major change in the Catalan capital's City Council according to the exit polls, where the alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú may have won this Sunday's municipal elections with between 10-12 seats but looks to be far from the 21-seat absolute majority. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which holds the mayoral office, is set to go from 14 to 9-11 seats. Therefore, the exit polls point towards a change in Mayor but the results are not clear enough and it in fact may be a dead heat between the CiU and Barcelona en Comú. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the People's Party (PP) are forecast to lose many seats, going from 11 and 9 seats respectively to 4 or 5 each. Furthermore, the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's) looks set to enter the City Council for the first time and obtain also 4 or 5 seats. As well as this, two pro-independence parties would also increase their results, if the exit polls are accurate. The left-wing Catalan independence party ERC could go from 2 to 3/4 seats, while the radical independence and alternative left party CUP may enter the City Council for the first time, with 3 or 4 seats.