Antonio Fernández. Barcelona 05/01/2020 05:00
The president of the Catalan National Assembly, Elisenda Paluzie. (EFE)
The fights between JxCAT and ERC strain the ANC and its president challenges them
The war to the death between JxCAT and ERC to dominate the independence electoral segment has managed to shake the ANC itself, which in recent years had been the helm of the ‘procés’
The Assamblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) was a good instrument for stirring up the streets while being useful to politicians. At the moment, the independence entity par excellence is facing an electoral campaign to choose the new leadership, and its current president, Elisenda Paluzie, leaves the daisy on her candidacy to repeat the presidency. The open war between JxCAT and ERC to dominate the independence electoral segment has managed to shake the ANC itself, which in recent years had been the helm of the ‘procés’. But Carles Puigdemont’s shameless partisan use of the entity has put the organization and its president in a difficult situation. The political differences of the parties have become a true internal virus and have become entrenched in the separatist entity of reference.
In fact, this week, Paluzie hinted that she will consider whether she will re-apply for the ANC leadership elections, which will take place soon. The elections will be held electronically between June 10 and 13. The deadline for submitting applications ends on May 24, so Paluzie has plenty of time to decide. At the moment, she will repeat in the National Secretariat. But another thing is the highest position of the organization, in which, according to some sources, “she has been burned by internal criticism”. Tired or Machiavellian move to get rid of the corset of the parties? That is the great unknown.
The reason for her sudden doubts seems to be the high tension experienced within the independence organization due to the confrontation between different sectors. In other words: the war to the death between JxCAT and ERC. In fact, one of the ANC’s main points is to achieve the unity of independence and, at the moment, the sovereign world is more divided than ever, with the three main parties (ERC, PDeCAT or JxCAT and CUP) facing each other and far from a climate of dialogue that fosters a broad platform for all pro-independence forces.
Official sources of the entity, however, stress that “the ANC is an organization that works outside the parties, that has its own life and that is not governed by what one or the other says. It is more: in the crucial moments, it is the ANC that has set the tone and it is the parties that have followed it”.. But the bad environment between republicans and post-convergents has ended up vitiating the atmosphere and any decision taken is understood in a political sense, so criticism of the leadership, whether from one side or the other, is assured.
Another source consulted by this newspaper, however, points out that Paluzie’s pulse “is a move that aims to force her hands free to choose a team of absolute trust and then be able to stand up to the games with greater comfort and propose a strategy that will lead the most extreme independence movement to take to the streets due to a unilateral rupture ”. In other words, a strategic and personal move by Paluzie herself.
President’s plan B
The truth, however, is that Paluzie has a plan B in her pocket in case that move goes wrong. On March 10, the BOE published the resolution of February 19, 2020 of the University of Barcelona by which professors were appointed. There were only three, but the best known was Elisenda Paluzie Hernández, who was awarded the category of professor of Applied Economics. Thus, the one who had been dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business between 2009 and 2017 fulfilled one of her old dreams: to move up the category and position herself for an even more important battle, such as being able to be choosed as Rector.
Sources close to Paluzie consulted by El Confidencial leave that battle up in the air, at least momentarily. “Elisenda does not have among its goals to be Rector”, underline these sources. But the truth is that the wear suffered in recent months at the head of the Catalan National Assembly has been a shock in her career and her eyes are now on the academic world. “Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind: her goal is to be Rector and to turn the university into another separatist fort”, says an emphatic political leader who knows her closely. Elections to elect Rector will take place at the end of the year.
Paluzie’s position answers two questions: the first is personal and refers to the personal aspirations of the ANC leader. In fact, it was the great sovereign hope to dominate the University of Barcelona (UB). The second is a political question: independence has set itself the goal of taking over all public institutions. And Paluzie has the characteristics to try to dominate one of the institutions that have not yet entered the sphere of separatism, which has already achieved goals that seemed impossible, such as the Fira de Barcelona or the Cámara de Comercio de Barcelona.
Different pro-independence leaders have already publicly bet on the conquest of institutions. Montse Soler, from the top of the Chamber of Commerce, recognized in a meeting with activists that the independence movement had to take over all sports clubs. “And after sports clubs, universities and equivalent institutions. Our universities are also governed, for the most part, by non-independence teams, to say the least”. Hence, she asked everyone to promote sovereign candidacies, because if everyone voted in an independent manner, “you already know that you have a good chance of winning”.
In the ANC roadmap approved on March 22, the work of the entity in
campaigns such as Eines de País, with the conquest
of the Cámara de Comercio de Barcelona (that is the name that bore the candidacy which won at
that institution) is highlighted. “But there is still a lot of work to be done
to achieve power spaces in as many social and professional sectors as possible.
Thus, we must continue to develop the establishment of a national union
committed to independence (…) The ANC will also support exciting projects,
institutional or otherwise, that aim to create or effectively implement state
structures”, says the text of the roadmap.
Last Sunday, in an online communication from Paluzie with her militancy, the ANC president criticized the State for managing the coronavirus crisis and stressed: “We must put the center back on our objective, which is to make effective the independence”. He went further and reported that within Spain it was not possible to continue “in an autonomy where we are lowered to the minimum and where we have no possibilities of fighting for the smallest welfare and for the very life of our citizens”.
at a crucial moment
she was betting on unilateralism and extremism to comply with her roadmap: “We
believe that if the next parliamentary election exceeds 50% plus one of the
votes, there is a clear mandate and we will demand that they make independence
effective and that carry out the project unilaterally ”. She also advocated
putting “all the assets of civil society” to work to achieve separation from
Spain. This means being able to show that independence is “a useful tool
and that it is next to people when they suffer … It has to be seen as a big
challenge, however, comes at a crucial moment: just when the electoral campaign
to elect the new ANC leadership is being organized, which could create an
unprecedented crisis in the organization. Hence the theory that the threat of
abandonment is a purely individual tactic of the ANC president.
In the June elections, 77 members of that leadership will be elected, who will make up what is the National Secretariat. Voting is nominal, since closed lists are not allowed and candidates are vetoed from holding organic positions or positions of responsibility in any party. Neither can they have them once elected to the secretariat nor will they receive any remuneration, nor can they have any criminal proceeding “for causes not related to the achievement of the objectives of the association”. Any militant who chooses to be a member of the secretariat will have to present their endorsed candidacy with a simple majority of at least two base assemblies (with a minimum of five militants each) and a territorial assembly.
Furthermore, the candidates’ programs cannot be contradictory to the ANC roadmap, which was approved on March 22. This roadmap was proposed by Paluzie to the organization’s membership and approved almost unanimously. The strategic objectives are condensed in achieving independence “through the democratic breakdown”. In this sense, the ANC specifies: “The rupture is prepared and becomes effective. The ANC is clearly committed to preparing it and making it effective”. She also points out that this organization must occupy “the central space of the political debate for independence” and stresses that without it there would have been no referendum on October 1 and also that “it is evident that without the ANC, after the brutal repression of the Spanish State and the lack of responsibility of the independence political parties, the independence movement would have been defeated”.