Very few can predict what will happen on October 1, when the Catalan authorities seek a referendum to separate from Spain, which the government of Mariano Rajoy says will not materialize.
At the end of August, the Generalitat (Catalan executive) accelerated the process of achieving the secession of this autonomous community with the revelation of some regulations to support the complex challenge.
In early July, the pro-independence parties that make up the autonomous government presented the law with which they intend to defend its controversial public vote, considered unconstitutional by the Spanish justice and the administration of Rajoy. Upon winning ‘yes’ in the eventual vote, the Catalan parliament will declare the independence of the region in 48 hours, according to the draft of the so-called Law of the Referendum on Self-determination, pending processing in the legislative chamber.
The legal basis on which the legislation is based is reflected in Article Two, under which the people of this region of north-eastern Spain are ‘sovereign political subjects’ and, as such, exercise the right to freely and democratically decide their political status.
Arguments challenged by the central government, which repeatedly stressed that national sovereignty resides with the Spanish people, as the Constitution of the European country supports. The text states that Catalonia is sovereign to consult its citizens, relying on the defence of the fundamental right of self-determination in international treaties.
He points out that this hypothetical referendum – in which 5.5 million of the 7.5 million Catalans are eligible to vote – will be binding, not establishing any limit for participation in it.
In light of possible lawsuits or other legal actions, the new law protects ‘all authorities, persons and companies that participate directly or indirectly’ in the preparation and conclusion of the referendum.
In addition, it confirms the date and the ballot question previously announced by the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?”.
The coalition government Together for the Yes and the Popular Unity Candidature, promoters of the separatist challenge, ensured that the legislation of the referendum is supreme and will prevail over any other that may contradict it.
After the Referendum Act, the Generalitat reached a new stage in its unilateral claim to independence, by exposing regulations that will establish an alternative legal framework to the Spanish at the end of August.
Together for the Yes (JxSí) – the ruling coalition in Catalonia – and the Popular Unity Candidature (CUP) presented the Law of Legal and Fundamental Transiency of the Catalan Republic.
This I the main legislation of the so-called disconnection laws, and would come into force after an eventual triumph of yes in the referendum on self-determination scheduled for October 1. The sovereignty parties, JxSí and the CUP, which hold the majority in the regional parliament, explained that this provision seeks to cover the phase immediately after the referendum, and will only go forward if it wins the option in favour of separation.
After a transition period, “we will go to a constituent process: the proposal and constitution of the Catalan Republic,” said Lluís Corominas, deputy of Juntos por Si, an alliance between Esquerra Republicana (left) and the Democratic Party (right).
For his part, CUP deputy Benet Salellas stressed that this rule destroys any attempt to open a new separatist process, which will conclude definitively if the yes triumphs in the October vote, he emphasized.
Immobility against the Catalan dispute
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was opposed to analysing any initiative to tackle the serious territorial crisis in Catalonia.
During a press conference after meeting this summer in Mallorca (Baleares) with King Felipe VI, the president confessed to being a supporter of ‘doing nothing’ before October 1.
He responded in these terms when asked about an initiative of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the main opposition party, to avoid further confrontation with the rich region.
This September in the Congress of Deputies, the PSOE proposed the creation of a study commission to transform the current territorial model, which forms the basis for a future reform of the Constitution.
“Before October 1, I am in favour of doing nothing,” insisted Rajoy, whose administration has repeatedly been accused of aggravating conflict in recent years and of exacerbating secessionist sentiments in the absence of political solutions.
He anticipated that his government would challenge the so-called disconnection laws before the Constitutional Court (TC) if the Catalan parliament table qualifies them for legislative processing, because what it is intended to do, he denounced, is absolutely illegal.
Apart from the conservatives, the Social-Democrats of the PSOE and the liberals of Citizens-Party are opposed to the secessionist plans and consider them unconstitutional.
The progressive coalition Unidos Podemos, the third political force of this Iberian nation, supports the holding of a referendum approved with the State – non- unilaterally -, although it supports the permanence of Catalonia in Spain. (PL)
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Shanika Whight )