JOSEP ANTONI DURAN I LLEIDA – 18/09/2020
Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, Catalan politician, president of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, former MP of Catalan Parliament and former MEP of European Parliament
For years there has been a general cause against what has been disparagingly described by some as the “regime of 78”. From the outset, it does not seem trivial to me to point out that if it can be called a regime, it is precisely because it has left a dictatorial regime behind. This without forgetting that one of the virtues of the Constitution, as the vault of this “regime of 78”, is to provide coverage even to those who seek its demolition. Unlike the German, for example, the Spanish Constitution does not require constitutional militancy.
In this context, the poorly executed and explained departure (not flight) of King Juan Carlos I has been used as a lever to try to transmit strength to the disruptive process. I have always defended the necessity that no matter how serious the faults may be, they are not attributed to the institutions, but to the person who committed them. Of course, in all cases it will be necessary to go to the bottom in demand of responsibilities, if there are any. It could be that although the behaviors are irresponsible and reckless, they are not classified as a crime. Or, on the contrary, that they are finally subject to criminal sanction, in which case the weight of the law must prevail. Meanwhile, it does not seem reasonable to use the mud that a corrupt policeman and an ambitious courtesan throw against one of the key people on whom the transition was built.
To achieve the overthrow of the “regime of 78” the legacy of the transition must be devastated
But the objective of this general cause is not the king emeritus, but the monarchy, and with it, the “regime of 78”. What is intended is that the Spaniards see the monarchy no longer as a problem, but as the problem. Some with the interest of making it fall to generate a Spanish republic and others with the hope that this is the prelude to a Catalan republic. I do not think it is relevant that the form of State is a monarchy or a republic. About this issue I have always considered myself an accidentalist. Rousseau described the republic as that political system that is governed by the law approved by all and not by a dictator, be it a republican or an absolute king. I do not see our parliamentary monarchy distant from this Rousseaunian definition. Our problems do not come from the monarchy, but from how the country is managed.
And of course, to achieve the overthrow of the “regime of 78” the legacy of the transition must be devastated. Of course this has not been a perfect or untouchable work. But the transition is what has allowed Spain as a whole to live the longest era in its history of democratic coexistence accompanied by clear economic and social progress. And in Catalonia, in particular, to all this must be added the fact that it had never been able to exercise such a high degree of self-government. Is the unstable Spain of the present better than the Spain of the eighties, nineties … or the beginning of this century? Does the Catalonia of 2020 have the political, economic and social weight and prestige or more self-government than that of ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years ago? And if we talk about Barcelona, is there someone who objectively is not able to see the depressing degradation of the city? From all points of view: cultural, economic, social, urban … Do you really believe that the deterioration in Barcelona, Catalonia or Spain derives from whether the form of State is the monarchy and not the republic? Or that the cause of this is a Constitution that is “hijacked by the past”? I believe that it is not the past that conditions this distressing present. It is the replacement of the spirit of transition (dialogue, transaction and pact between different sides) by the virus of populism (demagoguery, confrontation and division deepening differences). And populism is both the new left – and the new right – and the pro-independence movement.
The transition could have been made better? Of course! Everything human can always be improved. It is argued that democracy in Europe is based on the defeat of fascism, with the exception of Spain. And it is true! In our war the defeated was democracy. But it is also true that neither the republic before nor later the Franco regime were able to overcome the division of Spanish society. And instead the transition tried and managed to add the two “Spains” without excluding any of them. Does this seem irrelevant? Are there areas, some of them core, that squeak and should be revised and reformed? Of course!
And if it is necessary to reform the Constitution, it should be done. But let’s face it, it can’t be done until the reviled spirit of transition is recovered. How is the Constitution going to be reformed with the current political climate if for the approval of budgets in the worst crisis we have experienced, Podemos does not want to participate if Ciudadanos is there; and Ciudadanos does not want to be present if Podemos is there; the PP does not want to be if Podemos is there; ERC does not want to be if Ciudadanos is; today the PSOE wants to be with some of them and tomorrow with some others… So it is not surprising that it is more comfortable to speak of monarchy or republic.