Maite Gutierrez, Barcelona
09/14/2019 01:15 Updated on 09/14/2019 10:28
The claim for the referendum on the independence of Catalonia has so far been the cohesive element of a political space as complex as that of the Comuns of Ada Colau, which agglutinates without difficulties from autonomists to federalists and pro-independence. The referendum was even the leitmotif of their campaign to the general elections of 2015 and 2016 in which they were winners and continues to be fixed in their ideology and program as the tool to unfreeze the Catalan conflict.
However, the political division generated by the process and with an eye towards the chaotic management of Brexit, within the Comuns doubts have emerged about the opportunity to claim and hold an independence referendum. The debate begins to spread in the party and the federalist sector has already written down in black and white a proposal challenging the independence referendum and proposing other ways to find an escape valve to the territorial confrontation.
The current Comuns Federalistes, with representation in the executive board of Catalunya en Comú, debated this Thursday in an event at the Casinet d’Hostafrancs a text analysing the Catalan crisis. In it they propose a federal reform of the Constitution, giving rise to a “new framework of self-government” that expands and shields the competences of Catalonia. A reform resulting from a broad agreement between parties, which, yes, should be submitted to a referendum.
Within the party some cadres outside this current also admit their doubts
This sector of the Comuns considers that both the path of the “rupture proposed by the pro-independence parties” and the “backward movement” in rights and self-government formulated by the “right” have failed. In this context of high political division, with Catalonia split in two halves, they stress that a vote on independence “would not be the solution either”. “There is no social majority and a referendum of these characteristics is not constitutional and therefore would require a previous reform” which, given the current correlation of forces, seems unfeasible.
Instead, they insist on changing the Constitution so that it recognizes the “pluri-nationality and pluri-lingualism of the Spanish State”, that Catalonia “is a nation” and thus forging the foundations of a new federal territorial model. This proposal has remarkable similarities with that of the PSC, which this Thursday defended its first secretary, Miquel Iceta, in an act on “The Federal Ideal” at the Athenaeum of Madrid.
The Federalist Comúns, of which José Luis Atienza, Maribel Ibáñez or Pere Mariné are part, and which have the support of Lluís Rabell, plan to continue working on this point with an eye on the Assembly that Catalunya en Comú will hold at the end of year or early next year. The intention is to present a motion on its alternative federal commitment to the referendum on independence to discuss it in the organs of the party led by the mayor of Barcelona.
A debate, that of the current advisability of a referendum on independence, that has already come out slowly outside the circle of the federalist Comúns and that some cadres of the party begin to take into account, as this newspaper has learned.
The leadership of Catalonia in Comú remains firm in its commitment to the referendum, but in any case, it no longer serves as an agglutinating element in a party with a high diversity of sensitivities regarding the national issue.