SILVIA ANGULO, LUIS B. GARCIA
Interview with the president of the parliamentary group of En Comú Podem in the Parliament.
Jéssica Albiach (València, 1979) arrives for the interview after being vaccinated against covid in the Sant Pau hospital, while the prisoners in Lledoners make their first statements after leaving prison. She claims that the pardons have been possible thanks to their political space and that they have defended them alone until they became “common sense”. However, she warns that the amnesty law does not currently have sufficient support and urges that feasible avenues such as the reform of the crime of sedition should be considered.
The situation of Puigdemont
“It is an anomaly, hence the importance of speeding up the reform of the crime of sedition”.
Pedro Sánchez said in the Liceu that he does not expect the pro-independence group to stop being pro-independence group, but rather that they comply with the law. Do you expect the same?
Anyone who draws parallels between the current situation and that of three or four years ago is mistaken. The release of the pro-independence leaders was important for humanitarian and legal reasons, and because with them in prison there would be no real negotiation at the dialogue table. Sánchez spoke of a new model of country that I am convinced will be promoted from the Mediterranean axis. The pardons are the first step towards burying the black and white Spain of Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Santiago Abascal.
Is Sánchez’s turn in favour of pardons more about survival or conviction?
I would like to think that Sánchez has realised the need to build a new model of country in the face of the political and economic ‘Ayusismo’ that advocates selfishness and lack of solidarity. But it is clear that our role in the central government has a lot to do with it. These are measures that we defended alone and now they are of consensus, and Pablo Casado has been left alone with Santiago Abascal and Inés Arrimadas.
Independence is justified by European judicial pressure.
European justice has simply shown that we were right, that the crimes for which they have been tried are not crimes in other European countries. Now we must take advantage of the situation to reform the Penal Code, the crime of sedition, which for us is the next step. And we are going to fill the dialogue table with content.
For this reform, the votes of ERC and JxCat are needed.
I am convinced that ERC and Junts will want to push for it to become a reality. Not only would it be beneficial for the pro-independence leaders who are in exile, but it would also help to protect everyone’s right to protest.
Should amnesty be a possibility or should Puigdemont answer to the Spanish justice system?
At the dialogue table it must be possible to talk about everything, including amnesty and self-determination, but the problem I see with amnesty is that it does not currently have sufficient support because the PSOE is not in favour of it. We cannot stand idly by in the face of an unjust situation and we have opted for the most feasible ways: pardons and reforming the Penal Code.
It is an anomaly that Puigdemont has immunity in all European countries except Spain.
It is an anomaly that Puigdemont has immunity in all European countries except Spain, hence the importance of speeding up the reform of the crime of sedition.
If you were the majority part of the government, would there be an amnesty?
In that case, questions of common sense would have come sooner, we would be moving towards a plurinational republic and we would have launched a referendum to decide between republic or monarchy.
Speaking of referendums: self-determination or self-government?
We have never moved. We have always talked about a referendum and we think that different options should be put to the vote. Mine is a plurinational republic, but there must also be others. There has to be a question on independence, on whether we stay as we are and another on the plurinational republic.
You have to be able to vote for different options. Mine is a plurinational republic, but there must also be other options.
What do you think would win?
Surely, the one with the least options would be to stay as we are.
The government does not accept a referendum, at least not the socialists.
But the territorial pact has been broken. The Catalan conflict speaks of the fracture of that pact and that means that in Congress there are more nationalist and regionalist parties than ever, or that we have had a funding model that has been out of date since 2014.
Do the pardons open the possibility of ERC distancing itself from Junts and moving closer to you?
Our hand is always outstretched and Junts’ principles are beginning to form part of the past rather than the future. It would be good news if ERC were to emancipate itself, but it always ends up choosing Junts. During the negotiation of the Government there were four days in which many people were excited about the possibility of a change that has yet to reach the institutions because it already exists on the streets if we look at the polls.
Did you really negotiate with ERC to support the investiture of Pere Aragonès?
On our side, yes, and I would like to think that on ERC’s side too, but there is a moment when the Republicans are shaking in their boots.
But there were people who warned him that he was using them.
It would be a mistake to read it in those terms. There were four days in which Catalonia saw that there was an alternative to a government and a formula that had failed over the last ten years. This is already a success.
Will you support a budget drawn up by Jaume Giró?
With Aragonès we talked about budgets and I was honest. En Comú Podem does not take a back seat, we did so in the last legislature because it allows us to maintain public services. But ERC made its choice in the investiture and I would like to think that the accounts will be endorsed by its partners. It is up to us to be an alternative.
The feeling I get when I hear the PSC talking about TV3 is that they are trying to ‘get rid of you and put me in’.
The PSC has put the spotlight on TV3. They denounce a pro-independence bias. Do you agree?
The feeling I get when I hear the PSC talking about TV3 is that they want to ‘take you off and put me on’. It’s true that the feeling we have is that it is less and less everyone’s, so we have to move forward. But when we talk about the plurality of TV3, it is important to bear in mind that Catalonia is very diverse in terms of race, origin, religion…, and when the PSC raises the issue of plurality, I think it does so from a partisan point of view.
Its space suffers from atomisation and there are internal voices that are in favour of a single party instead of a confluence.
I like to take things one step at a time. I believe that rubbing together makes us love each other and working together makes us love each other more and more every day. The important thing is the objectives and acronyms can never be an obstacle.
But your voters would be grateful for one acronym and not fifty-one.
Now we are En Comú Podem. We are very clear about this. At the beginning this was changing but it is now a problem that has been overcome.
At the Spanish level we are also working on unification.
In two years we have general elections, we have to propose an alternative model for the country and we don’t want to do it alone. It is time for plural leaderships, feminist, brown and respecting plurality, but we would be mistaken if we thought now what the formula should be because this generates more problems than a positive impulse.