Monday, November 10, 2014

People's Party (PP) continues to criticise November 9's participatory process and announces legal actions

The day after 2.3 million citizens gave their opinion on Catalonia's independence from Spain, the reactions of Spanish and Catalan parties did not bring great surprises nor changes of attitude. The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, considered the vote "illegal" and announced that there will be consequential reactions from the Spanish authorities, including the Public Prosecution Office. In addition, they considered independence supporters to be "a minority" in front of "a silent majority". 
The Spanish and Catalan Socialist parties (PSOE and PSC, respectively) repeated that it is the moment for a Constitutional Reform and to start negotiations, while they rejected a referendum on independence. Populist party Ciutadans (C's) asked for early elections. Spanish nationalist and populist parties UPyD and VOX asked the suspension of Catalonia's autonomy and the arrest the Catalan President. 

Parties supporting self-determination praised Sunday's vote. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU wants to explore negotiations with Madrid, although the Liberal CDC is sceptical about the results. However, the debate about early elections is delayed for a few weeks. The left-wing independence party ERC and the alternative left and radical independence CUP rejected negotiations with the Spanish Government. The green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA asked for a binding referendum. In addition, the Catalan Government will expand its appeal to the Constitutional Court against the Spanish Government, in order to include complaints about "the hostile and anti-democratic attitude" of Rajoy's cabinet. 


No big surprises on Monday, the day after 2.3 million Catalans cast their ballot in a unique participatory process. The 'number 2' of the governing People's Party, María Dolores de Cospedal, insisted on the threats launched on Sunday evening by the Spanish Justice Minister, Rafael Catalá. De Cospedal stated that the process had been carried out "outside the legal framework" and guaranteed that the Spanish authorities will react "consequently". She also stated that on November 9 "there was a not achieved attempt to violate national sovereignty".

The PP threatens civil servants and directors of high-schools

In addition, an official spokesperson form the PP and Member of the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, warned that the Catalan President will receive a letter from the Public Prosecutor Office because he "committed an offense". On top of this, he highlighted that "many directors of high-schools" and "civil servants" will have "to answer to justice" for having allowed to set polling stations within the education centres and "for the orders received by their bosses" and the Catalan Government. Besides, the Catalan leader of the PP, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, said that those participating on Sunday were "a minority" in front of "a silent majority" that is opposed to independence and did not vote.

The PSOE insists on the Constitutional Reform and rules out independence referendum

The leader of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, was in Barcelona on Monday to participate in the PSC's weekly meeting. Sánchez said he "respected" the Catalans that were "mobilised" on Sunday but he also asked that those "who did not vote on November 9" are taken into account. The PSOE leader said that the participatory process showed that the frontal opposition attitude of the Catalan President, Artur Mas and the lack of reaction of the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, are a "failure". He also insisted on starting to "negotiate" a "Constitutional Reform", which the PSOE proposed more than a year ago and that has been rejected by the PP on manifold occasions. In such a reform, the PSOE would not include the explicit recognition of Catalonia's nationhood and a specific economic agreement similar to the Basque Country's and Navarra's. On top of this, the PSC will prioritise the reform of the Constitution and will not work towards organising a legal independence referendum, despite all of its MPs having run in the last Catalan elections promising a legal self-determination vote.

The governing CiU wants to give negotiations with Rajoy another chance

The CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, is divided on what should be the next steps, since the two parties that form the coalition have different opinions. However, on Monday they agreed to give negotiations with Rajoy another opportunity – perhaps the last one – while the debate about early elections is delayed for a few weeks. The Liberal CDC, which is the largest party and that of the Catalan President, stated it will work to organise "a mutually-agreed" referendum on independence, which means negotiating with the Spanish Government. However they admitted to be sceptical about the possibilities of reaching an agreement and insisted on having "a definitive democratic mandate" regarding independence, which could also be reached through early elections to the Catalan Parliament. The Christian-Democrat UDC does not like the option of calling early elections. They asked Rajoy to make a move and start negotiating or it will soon be too late and early elections will be unavoidable.

The other pro-self-determination parties reject negotiations

The parties clearly supporting independence, reject negotiating with the Spanish Government once again because they consider this path to be exhausted. The ERC is asking for calling "constituent elections" to build an independent state if citizens vote for a majority of pro-independence parties. According to the ERC, on Sunday, citizens issued "a very clear democratic mandate" in favour of independence from Spain. The CUP considered the "CiU not to be a valid actor to build independence" and considered that "now it is time to execute the mandate" from November 9. In addition, they totally reject negotiations with the Spanish authorities. The ICV-EUiA considered that November 9's participatory process "breaks the political stage" in Spain. They considered it is "absurd" to try to talk again with the Spanish authorities and stated that Catalonia "deserves a binding consultation vote" on independence. However, they also insisted on prioritising social policies with "a fair budget" for 2015.

The other Spanish nationalist parties reject making any concessions

The populist and anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C's), did not want to asses November 9's vote because "it does not have any political or legal validity". In addition, they insisted on calling early elections, where "80% or 90% of Catalans should vote". According to them and despite there having refused to comment on Sunday's vote, in Catalonia "only 30% of the electoral census" is pro-independence". They also criticised Rajoy for not having stopped Sunday's vote from happening. The Spanish nationalist party UPyD asked Rajoy to use Article 155 of the Constitution to remove the Catalan President from office, as they considered he made "a coup d'état". In addition, they criticised Rajoy for being too soft with Catalonia. The extreme-right party VOX filed a complaint against the Spanish Prime Minister for having allowed "a secessionist referendum". They also asked the Spanish Government to suspend Catalonia's autonomy.

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