March 24, 2023

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This is the context in which the future Government of Spain is obliged to find "formulas of understanding and encounter" to face the division of Catalan society


“My disagreement with any policy sectarian, discriminatory and devoid of any sense of responsibility”. ‘President’ Tarradellas, letter to ‘La Vanguardia’, 16/4 1981.

These words are perfectly applicable to the policy of the current Government of Catalonia. And, beyond such an authoritative and respectable opinion, this is the result of the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court (TC) of the 11th of this month. Above all, after this background. From the pre-agreement for a Government of the PSOE and UP, which in relation to the “coexistence in Catalonia” committed “to promote dialogue in Catalonia (…) always within the Constitution”. Within the framework of this political commitment, it was very important that the Parliament, on the proposal of the PSC, approved on the last 10th “to renounce any unilateral initiative”, although it also approved a motion of the CUP in favor of the right to self-determination. This last agreement, plus other proclamations in the same sense, justifies the importance of the aforementioned ruling of the TC.

In it, the nullity of the agreements of the Board of the Parliament of February 28 and March 1, 2018 was approved. Both had the purpose of “restitution of the Catalan institutions”, that is, those constituted by laws 19/2017 and 20/2017. These agreements accepted a motion for a resolution submitted by Junts per Catalunya, plus the amendments made by the parliamentary subgroup of the CUP-Crida Constituent.

It was very important that the Parliament, at the proposal of the PSC, on the last 10th approved “renouncing any unilateral initiative”

This happened a few months before the enforcement of art. 155 of the Constitution. And it was intended the approval and, therefore, the entry into force of the institutions proclaimed in those laws despite the fact that the TC had agreed to its nullity by STC 114/2017, of October 17, in an evident exercise of confrontation and rebellion against the agreements of the highest court of the State. And this, although the preventive detention of the top leaders of the ‘procés’ had already been agreed. The following were intended, without further mediation. “It is reaffirmed and reiterated (by the Parliament) the declaration of independence and the proclamation of Catalonia as an independent State in the form of a Republic, which were voted and approved on October 27, 2017”, And, among other proclamations, it was agreed that “be finished the interferences of the government of the State in the jurisdictional instances and the Constitutional Court that intend to prevent the materialization of the democratic will of the representatives of the people of Catalonia …”. And so on, until “restoring the Catalan republic”.

The TC reiterates, once again, principles for which a dialogue may be possible, but no concession from the State Government. Everything that has been described, which continues to be the core of the Catalan Government’s political proposal, is absolutely unconstitutional and of the utmost gravity, as it contradicts the essential principles of our constitutional order: “National sovereignty, residing in the Spanish people, the unity itself of the nation constituted in a social and democratic State of law, and the very supremacy of the Constitution, to which all public powers are subjected and also, therefore, the  Parliament of Catalonia”. But the TC goes further. “The nation in whose unity the Constitution is based is the one of all Spaniards, as free citizens and equal in rights. They are the only ones who, in hypothesis, could be called upon to decide on the permanence and destiny of the Common State (art. 168 CE), and the constituent power of which they are sole holders would not continue to deserve that name in the event that such a decision would be recognised to only a fraction of the Spanish people, as Law 19/2017 claims”. All of this leads the TC to conclude the seriousness that represents “the unconditional reiteration [of the Board of the Parliament and its president] of resolutions or rules declared unconstitutional and invalid by this court”.

“The nation in whose unity the Constitution is based is the one of all Spaniards. They are the only ones who could decide on the Common State”

This is the context, and not another, in which the future Government of Spain is obliged to find “formulas of understanding and encounter” to face the deep division, if not rupture, of Catalan society.

* Carlos Jimenez Villarejo. Federalistes d’Esquerres.


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