Ferran Pedret, 5 September 2021
MP for the PSC-socialist party
Plenary of Parliament in which the referendum law was approved. /
The plenary sessions of the disconnection in 2017. What we learned in September 6 and 7 2017
The ‘procés’ has generated its own language and a whole symbolic universe, marked by a set of dates full of significance for the supporters of the secession. In this succession of milestone dates that the independence movement continually evokes, however, you will always find two absent: September 6 and 7, 2017. It is no coincidence. A partisan maneuvering happened those days, and not in a banal way.
Four years later, we must remember, not to anchor ourselves in the past, but to extract, from those two unfortunate days, useful lessons for the task of rebuilding the basic consensus in Catalonia, eroded and weakened in recent years.
In summary, those days a parliamentary majority decided, through two texts that appear to be laws, to repeal the Constitution and the Statute and replace them with a pseudo-constitution that allowed to guess the characteristics, not comparable to democratic standards, of the new State that they wanted to see the birth.
To achieve this illegitimate objective, the pro-independence majority did not hesitate to twist and force laws and regulations, to deprive the opposition parliamentary groups, deputies and minority deputies of their rights and, through them, the citizens to the they represented.
Direct and clumsy maneuvering
The maneuver of the independence group was direct and clumsy, based on the mere brute force of a majority exercised as if it were a steamroller. It could only function in coordination with a majority in the Parliamentary Table that always denied protection to the opposition and neglected its own functions, as it was.
The opposition anticipated what would happen and designed a strategy aimed at trying to get them to desist from that assault on the rules of the democratic game, using the regulatory resources at their disposal, and even appealing to the Statutory Guarantee Council, as was their right to weigh that the majority present at the Table denied it. The Council spoke out very clearly, on two occasions, against the plans of the pro-independence groups.
Those texts were approved. But during the marathon sessions, and also in the debates that the citizens could not listen to, in the frequent Board of Spokespersons Meetings and meetings of the Table that interrupted the plenary session, the nature of the assault became clear, to the annoyance of all the pro-independence benches and it brought shame to not a few of its members.
It is known that the democratic consensus is something quite fragile, which requires that a large majority of the citizenry recognize that its institutions are, at the same time, legitimate and representative.
In the last decade, a significant part of the Catalan citizenship has been feeling estranged from the common institutions of the whole of Spain, but this does not find the solution in an attempt to force a secession that, in turn, makes another significant part of the Catalan citizenship deny legitimacy and representativeness to the institutions that were intended to create.
The precedent set by September 6 and 7 was ominous. Imagine an absolute majority to the Cortes Generales that had been obtained by campaigning against the autonomous state, and that the political force that has obtained it, appealing to the need to give way to the popular will despite the “corset” of the laws, decided in a vote in Congress to suppress them, dispensing with the constitutional reform procedure that offers us guarantees and denying the voice and rights of minority groups. Isn’t it understood?
A parliament can debate and take a position on any matter, but it cannot make decisions on any matter and in any way. This is so for the Parliament of Catalonia, for the Cortes Generales and for the European Parliament. For anyone. Fortunately, a majority cannot do everything.
What is needed, then, is to open a dialogue, also within Catalonia, involving the public. Each actor may contribute his positions, including those of maximums if he deems it appropriate, but knowing that it will be necessary to negotiate in good faith and reach agreements that are acceptable by large majorities, thus addressing the resulting reforms and transformations.