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Catalonia: The struggle over strategy in the independence movement

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

October 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Last December 21, the three parliamentary forces supporting Catalan independence-- Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the People’s Unity List (CUP)--together won a 70-65 seat majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament. Six months of drawn-out negotiations over forming a pro-independence government followed.

 

During this period Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena, instructing magistrate with regard to alleged offences in relation to the October 1, 2017 Catalan independence referendum, prohibited JxCat and ERC MPs in preventive detention and exile from standing for Catalan president or as ministers in any new Catalan government. Llarena’s work was backed up by the Spanish Constitutional Court, acting at the behest of the former People’s Party (PP) government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

 

On March 23, Llarena indicted 25 Catalan political and social movement leaders on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public moneys, carrying penalties of up to 30 years jail and the first step in a show trial to be held later this year or early next year. In the meantime, nine Catalan political and social movement leaders remain in preventive detention and seven in exile.

 

On May 29, after the Spanish state institutions had successfully blocked three presidential and four ministerial nominations, JxCat and the ERC finally managed to form a coalition government under JxCat president Quim Torra. The Spanish government coup against Catalan self-rule, conducted on October 27 under the cover of article 155 of the Spanish constitution, then ended and it seemed that a stable Catalan administration, albeit one under constant pressure from the Spanish state, had been put in place. However, the Torra government was put into a minority just four months later, in the October 9 session of the Catalan parliament.

 

While the stability of the Catalan government has so far not been affected, the always conflictive relationship between JxCat and the ERC has reached a new low. How did matters go downhill so fast?

 

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