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Esquerra leads the pragmatic way; but young post-Convergence and anti-Puigdemont claim a PNV

Xavier Vidal-Folch

Barcelona 17 AUG 2019 – 21:17 CEST

Two years after the attacks of 17-A everything is different in Catalonia: the fracture gains ground. The fight between Puigdemont and Junqueras “is stark, fierce and wild”, as testified by the PDeCat. Esquerra leads the pragmatic way; but young post-Convergence and anti-Puigdemont people ask for a Catalan PNV.

Run over by fanatical insanity, 16 citizens from all over the world died suddenly two years ago on the Rambla de Barcelona and Cambrils because of an attack of jihadist terror. This Saturday they will be remembered with affection. But without pomposity. A brief act, a brief protocol, a clamorous absence of speeches. That tragedy came accompanied by a minor but persistent drama: political unrest, the attempt to take advantage of the misfortune of others to discredit the current order.

The 17-A was randomly changed into a prelude to the rebellious and convulse autumn of Catalan politics: the laws of disconnection, the illegal referendum, the ephemeral proclamation of the republic. But by that time the independence block set the tone without trembling.

Its pattern was threefold: unilateralism to end in secession; radicalism excluding the doubtful and the hostile; unity of secessionism, with its meager advantage in seats lacking majority in votes (47.7%). This unity was sponsored by the societies of pro-sovereignty agitation, Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural (OC).

That multiform movement was directed by fits and starts, but with energy, by the post-convergent leaders of the PDeCat, Artur Mas (today condemned for disobedience) and Carles Puigdemont (escaped to Waterloo). The thriving Republican Esquerra (ERC) of Oriol Junqueras bent under that leadership branded as bourgeois: joint lists, second roles in coalition governments … There is nothing left of all that. The unity was replaced by the total fracture and the unsuccessful call to the lost unity.

And the impulse of ANC and OC as influencers of that unity of the procés gave way to the discrediting of others, and to numerous casualties of their own, kept in a whisper. The leaders were hidden in jail, or through the escape. Or by the disaffection. Esquerra ex-ministers (Anna Simó, Josep Huguet) announce that they will not go to the ANC Diada, which they qualify as a anti-parties “coven”. “It will be positive if the professionals of politics regain their role; it is a normalization requirement”, says the secretary of the socialist organization, Salvador Illa.

A leader of the PDeCat: “The fight between Puigdemont and Junqueras is brutal”

And so, unilateralism gives way to pragmatism. Radicalness, to a somewhat tempered centrality. The unity vanished: it is now called competition for power. The key since 17-A is the ruthless struggle for independence hegemony, between the post-convergent world and ERC, with the radical Candidature d’Unitat Popular (CUP) as a dumb guest but always cheered on by the inane president Quim Torra.

As a leader of the PDeCat confesses from the intimacy to this newspaper, “the struggle between Puigdemont and Junqueras is brutal, fierce and wild”. The fugitive reject Roger Torrent (ERC), head of the Parliament, for banning him to repeat as a candidate for president.

And Junqueras believes that his proximity to the million votes in the legislative election – he doubled the numbers of Convergencia – credits him further for the future; that it sterilizes the Pyrrhic victory of the European fugitive, and that it mandates him to “cushion” the edges of the procés, convinced that the heroic deeds, if they involve sending more young people to jail, are stupid.

Nothing is understood about Catalonia if the hardness of that frantic and agonizing competition for the hegemony of independence being waged by both of them is ignored. And therefore, for the leadership of Catalonia. And indirectly, to embody the Catalan influence throughout Spain (the State, they call it), as seen in their crossed skirmishes before the failed investiture of Pedro Sánchez.

An alternative from the post-Convergence is being developed against ERC

The no of the PDeCat and the pro-abstention perhaps of ERC symbolize the recidivist unilateralism (“ho tornarem a fer”, we will do it again) and an inclination to compromise. ERC is better placed for the race towards centrality that will happen than the radicalism: only 9% of Catalans are committed to unilateralism, as revealed by the latest Generalitat survey. And it is not an article of faith that the reaction to the sentence (unknown) of the 12 defendants in the Supreme Court “would be insurrectionary”, predicts a leader of the PDeCat. “It is not certain that it will serve to rebuild the strategic unity”, agrees another member of the PSC.

In that race, Esquerra’s pragmatism has an advantage, both discursive and in the public opinion surveys. But some are suspicious: the people of Junqueras were the ones advocating for the declaration of independence of 27-O by refusing to call elections; they also frustrated the PSOE budgets; and they aborted the landing of Miquel Iceta to the presidency of the Senate.

An alternative to ERC is being developed from the post-Convergence. If Puigdemont end up cutting ties with his former party, led by the young David Bonvehí with support from all moderates (Mercè Conesa, Ferran Bel, Marta Pascal, Carles Campuzano …), “our PNV-inspired possibility will be imposed over his legitimacy applauded by the CUP”; and Artur Mas “will have to choose: his consensus mayonnaise is impossible, Puigdemont only thinks of himself”, argues that sector, the least noisy and perhaps the most effective: it has agreed with the PSC in the Diputación de Barcelona.

The battle is accelerating. ERC goes for a new congress on September 15. The PDeCat holds its conference on September 20. And in the middle, other adventures, the Diada, the new investiture or the polls; Catalan budgets or their second extension; the eventual advance of regional elections. What an amount of roar.

Atención: este párrafo no parece ser parte del artículo de Vidal-Folch: comprobar.

17-A: a judicial case subject to conspiracies

The judicial case,opened by the attacks of two years ago in Barcelona and Cambrils, continues its course in the Audiencia Nacional, with the bulk of the investigation already closed. In October 2018, Judge Fernando Andreu prosecuted the three survivors of the Ripoll cell for terrorism offenses – Mohamed Houli Chmelal and Driss Oukabir for integration into a terrorist organization and Said Ben Iazza for collaboration. The three will remain in provisional prison until the trial is held.

In recent weeks, the newspaper Público, and later media close to Catalan independence, have launched a conspiracy theory about a possible collusion between intelligence services and terrorists led by Imam Es Satty. The theory, advocated by President Quim Torra and amplified by the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, is based on a ghost report with no known author, date or letterhead.

https://elpais.com/politica/2019/08/16/actualidad/1565973737_343139.html

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