Second day of Spanish investiture debate centres on Catalonia’s push for independence

Article published at Catalan News Agency, 27th October 2016.

Photo: The Current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, on the second day of the debate on investiture (by Spanish Parliament)

Barcelona (CNA).-  Catalonia’s push for independence was the main topic of discussion during the final part of the second day of the debate to elect a new Spanish premier. The referendum on independence, set for next September 2017, and the imputation of several Catalan representatives were two issues which arose in numerous MP interventions. The current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, denied there is a judicialisation of Catalan politics and stated that he is “willing to dialogue” with the Catalan Government, despite its policy of “all or nothing”. For his part, the spokesman of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECat),Francesc Homs, accused the Conservative People’s Party (PP) of being “the motor of the Catalan disconnection”. Rajoy will have to wait until Saturday to be elected President, as the politician will predictably lose the first vote this Thursday evening. The result will come as no surprise, as the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has already announced that it will vote ‘no’ in the first round, but abstain in the second. 

In regards to the Catalan issue, the spokesman of PSOE, Antonio Hernando, proposed a parliamentary subcommittee to address the process of independence for Catalonia and to “face the serious challenges present in the territorial structure of Spain”. The Socialist added that a debate with all the pro-independence groups, even those that have set a date for the self-determination referendum, is required to “recover institutional normality with Catalonia”. “If in the face of the gravity of the current situation we don’t act with enough energy and determination, the passing of time and solely applying the law won’t help to solve the situation”, the politician stressed.

The current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, avoided the Catalan issue and did not assess the proposal raised by the PSOE regarding the subcommittee: “I won’t enter into this now, among other reasons, because I don’t have it clear enough what the procedure is, and the forum where this dialogue can take place”.

Catalan pro-independence representatives defend the referendum

For their part, the Catalan parties stood firm on the necessity of a referendum. The spokesman of left-wing pro-independence party ERC in the Spanish Parliament, Joan Tardà, accused Rajoy of being an antidemocrat and heir of Francoism. “If you Mr. Rajoy had the firm democratic convictions of Mr. Cameron, if you had the same, you would have been the first to be interested in agreeing a referendum”, Tardà stated. “We won’t be misled, the distance between Cameron’s way of doing things and yours is the same distance that there was between Churchill and Franco”, the Catalan politician added.

“That is dialogue, disposition”, said Rajoy with irony, in reference to the ERC approach of a “referendum or a referendum” to put an end to the Catalan issue. The current Spanish President also urged the Catalan pro-independence parties to bring their proposal to the Spanish Parliament, if they want to debate.

The spokesman of the alternative left coalition En Comú Podem, Xavier Domènech, stated that his party want to do “opposition”, but also offer an “alternative to recognise Catalonia not as a problem, but as a territory with the right to decide”. Rajoy replied to Domènech’s intervention saying that the Conservative PP “doesn’t think the same” and that it wants “everyone to decide” on the Spanish future, not only Catalans.

The spokesman of former liberal Convergència (now renamed the Catalan European Democratic Party), Francesc Homs, expressed his preoccupation over Rajoy’s opinions regarding the Catalan issue. Moreover, the politician stressed that PP is the one to blame when it comes to talking about the “Catalan disconnection”. “You are the ones that break and destroy bridges (of dialogue), who despise and who lie, Mr. Rajoy”, Homs added.

In this regard, Rajoy insisted that he is “willing to dialogue” with the Catalan Government but called for “a bit of flexibility”. The Conservative politician said he does not want to “break or destroy bridges” and criticised the policy of “all or nothing”, because he believes it is “the ideal procedure to make it impossible to reach any agreement”.

Rajoy denies the judicialisation of Catalan politics  

The Conservative People’s Party leader rejected that PP has judicialised Catalan politics. “You are the ones openly challenging the state of right and situating yourselves outside the law”, Rajoy said to the pro-independence leaders in the chamber.

Read the full article here.

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