Siscu Baiges, 1 August 2023
With the results of the Spanish general elections of 23 July in hand, we have heard reflections on the effect that Catalonia and Euskadi would have on the State as a whole if they were not part of it. In other words, if the votes obtained and the MPs elected in these two communities were deducted from the overall electoral results. The final tally would give a clear victory to PP and Vox. At this point there would be no doubt as to who would be the country’s president and the indispensable weight that the ultra-right would have in the Spanish government. The pleasant surprise of the Spanish halt to the advance of the extreme right in Europe would not have happened.
Let us look at the other side of the coin. If Catalonia were an independent country and the elections had produced the results of 23 July, the president of the Generalitat would be the socialist Salvador Illa. The pro-independence plot to prevent his presidency would not work. The Socialists would have more MPs than all the pro-independence groups combined. PSC and Sumar would surpass the absolute majority threshold in the Catalan Parliament.
The shocking circumstance would then arise that an independent country would have a president who is not in favour of its independence and who believes that Catalonia’s best fit in Spain is on the basis of a federal relationship.
For the pro-independence supporters it would be a trauma. They have spent such a long time fighting for Catalonia’s separation from Spain and when they achieve it, a free election grants power to a political option that is in favour of reversing that independence.
The choice would then be between maintaining Catalonia as a progressive islet in a Spain that is not [because of the PP+Vox government] and in a Europe that is not either [because of the PPE cum ultra-right governments predominance], or opting for a federal relationship with both.
Evidently we are building castles in the air. There is nothing to suggest that Catalonia and the Basque Country will cease to be part of Spain in the near future, but who would have thought that the governability of Spain would be in the hands of a character like Carles Puigdemont!
In October 2017, Puigdemont had the choice between calling elections to the Catalan Parliament or jumping into the pool and proclaiming independence against the will of half or even more of the country. He jumped into the pool [without water in it]. Now he can decide between making Alberto Núñez Feijóo president, ratifying Pedro Sánchez in office or blocking the investiture of the president of the Spanish government and forcing a repeat election.
Would you prefer an independent Catalonia with a non pro-independence socialist president and a Spain governed by PP-Vox [a ‘Francostein’ government], or would you prefer to continue as we have been doing for the last five years [by means of a ‘Frankenstein’ government validated by the 23J elections]?
There must be a way forward that benefits the majority of the citizens of Catalonia, Spain and Europe. Will we eventually find it?