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Home » Content » The PDeCAT is broken: critics will go to the elections with their own brand without Puigdemont
High positions of the PDeCAT will continue on their own, abandoning unilateralism and betting on the reconstruction of the traditional nationalist political space

Antonio Fernandez

03/07/2020 14:06 – Updated: 03/07/2020 21:22

The nationalist landscape is entangled a little more in Catalonia:  PDeCAT critics have decided on Saturday to step forward and detach themselves from the Waterloo yoke, managed by Carles Puigdemont, presenting themselves as a new electoral option in upcoming electoral contests, regardless of post-Convergents of JxCat or La Crida. The rupture is already a fact: senior PDeCAT officials will continue on their own, abandoning unilateralism and betting on the reconstruction of the traditional nationalist political space. They do not yet define whether they will participate as a party, but they make it clear that they want to be “a new electoral option” compared to what there is so far. In other words: Puigdemont already has someone who disputes direct electoral space. And, in parallel, the complete blowing up of what was once the most important political party in Catalonia, Convergència Democràtica (CDC), has been consummated.

Last September, high-ranking PDeCAT officials met in the monastery of Poblet (in the same place where Jordi Pujol met for decades with his officers to meditate on political strategy) and laid the foundations for a new way of doing politics. It was the first warning to Carles Puigdemont that something in his machinery does not work. The radicalism imposed by the “ex-president” escaped has left many corpses along the way. A group split from CDC and formed Convergents, with former councilor Germà Gordó in the lead. Another one left and created Lliures, with also former counselor Antoni Fernández Teixidó. Others left for Units per Avançar (the heiress of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya), under the command of former counsellor Ramon Espadaler, tired of playing for the permanent revolution. And others stayed in no man’s land.

Thus, a handful of leaders of the PDeCAT met in Poblet and approved a road map that, without renouncing independence and a referendum agreed with the Spanish State, did expressly renounce unilateralism and permanent conflict with Spain. Among those militants were the CiU ex-speaker in Congress, Carles Campuzano, former MP Jordi Xuclà or former councilor Lluís Recoder. This group also includes the former major of the Parliament, Antoni Bayona. The former coordinator of the party, Marta Pascal was not expected, but she was kept ‘in mind’, because everyone reserves for her to be her public image: she is a woman, she is young, she has her own personality and she had the guts to face Puigdemont when he ordered not to support the vote of no confidence against Mariano Rajoy.

A leader in reserve

That cost her her position as general coordinator. And now she has just announced that she is leaving her senator seat to face a new political challenge. On July 21, 2018, at the Congress Carles Puigdemont sent messages to his most intimate: “Pascal can never be general coordinator”, he wrote, sentencing the one who practically was considered party leader. Publicly, the former escapee swore that he had not intervened in the result of that failing Congress of the PDeCAT. But the reality was much more cruel and prosaic: Puigdemont let Marta Pascal drop; she decided to throw in the towel tired of Waterloo’s interferences. Now, the young politician has her hands free and a road map not contaminated by Waterloo. And, from this Saturday, an organization that will be willing to support her unconditionally.

Pascal had not dared until now to take the step of finally breaking up ties with the PDeCAT. In fact, she is still within that formation, studying whether she and her group can still redirect the agonizing party (phagocytized by Puigdemont for the benefit of his other inventions, such as Junts per Catalunya or Crida a la Solidaridad) and place it again in the first line of politics. But everything suggests that there will not be such an opportunity.

Contacts between different groups

With the creation of this new political space, the problems in Catalan nationalism have not ended: on the contrary, a stage is opened in which it is necessary to elucidate how the militant Catalanism will be articulated. In fact, the Poblet Group, as well as senior positions of the PDeCAT and Units per Avançar (which in the last three electoral calls participated in coalition with the PSC) have been in contact for months and permanent conversations with representatives of Convergents, of Lliures and the Democratic League to study a joint platform that recomposes a Catalanist center that replaces the old CiU. In fact, Lliures and Lliga are preparing their merger by the end of this month and have already made offers to the other groups to agree on a joint candidacy that does not disperse the citizen vote and attract the famous 300,000 orphan votes that are in Catalanist nationalism since when CiU disappeared. The common premise of this Catalanist spectrum is the explicit renunciation of unilateralism, although the independence and negotiation of a referendum agreed with the Spanish State is not waived.

The document approved this Saturday, under the title ‘Conclusions and synthesis of the work on the support of a political option’, includes the guidelines that Pascal exposes in his book ‘Sense por’ (‘Without fear’), presented this February. No to unilateralism but yes to independence without violating the laws and complying with the norms of democracy. PDeCAT critics do not give up independence, but they want to agree on a referendum with the State. And there they want to propose a reform of the Constitution that recognizes the right to secession. They are also committed to guaranteeing the governability of the institutions: the tactic of ‘the worse, the better’, applied mercilessly by ‘puigdemontismo’ in the last three years is over.

The spokesman of the group, Antoni Garrell, presented the main lines of the project after this Saturday’s meeting. He said the candidacy “will be formalized in the coming weeks”. And he stressed that the offer is “a proposal open to all who want a Catalonia of understanding”.
The approved document highlights the need to “recover democratic quality”, bets on a “coexistence agreement” with the rest of Spain (based on “mutual respect and a position of equality between Catalonia and Spain while less tense moments come despite the differences and the unresolved disputes”) and advocates rethinking the political strategy and the path to independence.

He also emphasizes that “unilateralism aggravates polarization in Catalonia” and indicates literally that “we have suffered the suspension of self-government and cannot risk that it will happen again. Persisting in error will only increase frustration and perpetuate the vicious circle that currently grips us in the economic, social and political spheres”. Hence, he claims to “respect the rules of the democratic and liberal system” and “avoid the persistent conflict to stop the deterioration of the prestige of the institutions that represent us”, while asking to “avoid populist and anti-system policies to defend a project at whatever the price”.

The warning to Puigdemont, then, is clear and direct. It is not good news for the ‘ex-president’ escaped, who sees his leadership eroding a little more, but there is no doubt that it is a new electoral option that can absorb a portion of his electorate. It will be that, as the saying goes, the more we are, the more we will laugh.


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