Ricard López, 25 March 2023
The secessionist leader acknowledges that “we did not know how to connect with a large part of the public” and that no country recognised Catalonia’s independence.
From describing the illegal and unilateral referendum on the secession of Catalonia on 1 October 2017 as “a success” at the time – and being, in fact, one of its main promoters – to admitting now, more than five years later, its lack of validity. The secretary general of ERC, Marta Rovira, acknowledged on Saturday that the secessionist vote of 1-O “did not have sufficient internal legitimacy” and that the government of which her party was a member “did not know how to connect with a large part of the population of Catalonia”.
Rovira took it for granted on Catalunya Ràdio that Catalan secessionism “is not prepared” to hold another unilateral referendum like the one in 2017, and has shown herself to be in favour of “correcting what is convenient”, because it seems “evident” to her that the so-called “mandate” of 1-O has not been “applied”, nor is Catalonia a republic.
Lack of international recognition
The ERC leader, who has been on the run in Switzerland since 2018 to avoid being tried, has also stated that the 1-O referendum could not be “connected at an international level” either, because no one recognised Catalonia as independent.
Despite this, when asked if the 1-O was worth it and if she would organise it again, she said yes, as she considers the secessionist movement to be a historic struggle and the referendum “one more step in the struggle of a country that country that cannot live subdued, subjugated”, in her words. He also said that the state “is not very democratic”.
Fugitive in Switzerland
On her possible return to Spain, Rovira considers that “there are no guarantees” for her return because she has had “no notification” of a change in her procedural situation, despite the fact that the Spanish Government has repealed, at the request of ERC, the crime of sedition and reduced the crime of embezzlement: “I have no guarantee of knowing what will happen. Therefore, my position is very clear: let them finish the discussion after the modification of the Penal Code on what are the crimes that weigh on our people and, when they have finished this procedural discussion and there is a firm, definitive order, we will assess the risk, the guarantees, and we will make a decision”, she said.
Criticism from Junts
The words of the ERC leader on the illegal referendum of 1-O have raised criticism in Junts per Catalunya, until last October partners of the Republicans at the head of the government of the Generalitat. Its spokesman, Josep Rius, said that the fact that “2.3 million people” – according to him – defied the state on 1-O “is absolute legitimacy”.
“ERC should not do the job that the police that Rajoy sent to bust the referendum did not manage to do. Not like this,” said the post-Convergencia politician on his Twitter profile.