Catalunya declares, "Suspended Independence" to seek dialogue with Spain
The President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, welcomed the results of an illegal referendum for independence held on Sunday, October 1, and declared the independence of Catalonia before the Parliament, although he later proposed "to suspend the effects of the declaration of independence "to open the door to dialogue”.
Catalonia - the northeastern region of Spain whose capital is Barcelona - put the world on edge yesterday night.
Hundreds of journalists and international television broadcasters gathered on Tuesday evening in the Catalan Parliament, where at six o'clock in the afternoon the president of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, was scheduled to appear to announce the possible "unilateral declaration of independence of the region” based on the results of the controversial separatist referendum.
After an hour of delay that increased tension - associated with internal discussions within the separatist coalition that governs the Generalitat - Puidgemont appeared before a crowded Parliament to give first a speech on the relationship between Catalonia and Spain during the last fifteen years (a situation of economic and political injustice that, according to the separatists, justifies the desire for secession and the call for a legal referendum on independence, which Madrid refuses to concede) and concluded that with the results of the referendum - which Madrid considers illegal - obtained last October 1, Catalonia had earned the right to be an independent state.
“As president, I will assume the mandate of the people so that Catalonia becomes an independent state in the form of a republic," said Puigdemont, allowing for a few seconds panic to flicker half Catalan population.
However, he immediately proposed to "suspend the effects of the declaration of independence for a few weeks" to open the door to dialogue.
"We Catalans are not delinquents, not crazy or coup perpetrators: we are normal people who simply want to vote," he said, addressing the Spanish government led by conservative Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party.
During the last six years, the central government of Madrid has been deaf to the request of the Catalan government to call a referendum for independence in the legal framework.
The refusal of Madrid ended up becoming a machine to create independence supporters, a mass of population that the nationalist parties have been able to capitalize. In 2015, the two main separatist parties, PdeCat (right-center) and ERC (left) allied themselves in order to win the Catalan parliamentary elections and thus demonstrate to Madrid that the majority of Catalunya wanted independence. Nevertheless, the coalition ("Junts pel Sí") did not obtain the absolute majority and had to ally itself with the anti-system left (CUP) to be able to govern.
The CUP has been the main reason why in the last two years the Catalan government has accelerated the "independence process" at a reckless speed, threatening to take the country to the social and economic abyss.
At the end of summer, the Catalan separatist government succeeded in passing the Catalan Parliament two "express" laws: the referendum law of 1 October and the law of "transience" - which gave the Catalan president 48 hours to declare independence in case that the "yes" won by simple majority in the plebiscite).
The Spanish Justice declared both the law of the referendum and the law of transience unconstitutional. Since then, the Spanish government has tried by all means to stop the referendum, which ended up in the midst of a controversial police charge. The images of the Spanish police beating voters who came to protect the polling stations from being sealed became the front page of the international press, offering a very damaging image for Spanish democracy.
Despite the problems and lack of rigor that occurred during the referendum on Oct. 1, the police came to confiscate ballot papers and the electronic system was the victim of several cyber attacks by the Spanish government - the President of Catalonia claims that the results are valid and legitimate.
According to figures from the Catalan government, the referendum had the participation of 42% of the population (about 2.2 million inhabitants) and the "yes" won with 90%.
However, Puigdemont admitted in his speech that the population that voted "no" must also be invited to dialogue, and that the population is concerned about the flight of companies that has occurred since there is speculation with the possibility of a declaration of independence of Catalonia.
The decision to temporarily suspend the DUI, therefore, is an invitation to dialogue and negotiation with Madrid, seeking mediators to find a solution to the conflict that does not endanger the country's socio-economic situation, and with it, that of Europe.
Hours before the start of the speech, Puigdemont received the message from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in which he asked him not to make a DUI, for the sake of Catalunya, Spain and Europe.
France, like many European Community countries, has already confirmed to the Spanish president its support for the unity of Spain and that they will not recognize an independent Catalonia.
It is expected that today the central government, lead by Rajoy, will express the measures that will be taken before the suspended DUI of Catalonia.
To this day, Rajoy has refused to talk to the Catalan government, accusing it of being outlawed and of being a blackmailer.
The option that is most discussed in Madrid is the application of article 155 of the Constitution, which would mean the abolition of all autonomous rights of Catalonia and the subsequent convocation of regional elections.
Meanwhile, in the environs of the Parliament, dozens of independence supporters who had gathered in front of a giant screen to celebrate the declaration of independence of Catalunya, went home crestfallen, leaving behind a trail of empty beer cans.