Tuesday is expected to be a big day in Catalan politics. President Quim Torra will begin what will be a decisive fall starting with the conference ‘Our moment’, taking place at 7pm local time. He is set to look for the “least common denominator” amongst pro-independence forces in order to apply the mandate of the October 1 referendum and December 21 election called by the previous Spanish government, in which pro-independence parties won a majority.
It is also expected that he will send a message to Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, with whom he will meet in October, asking for concrete facts in order to solve the political conflict between Spain and Catalonia.
The conference will serve as a means of starting an autumn that will see the first anniversary of last year’s referendum. This autumn the trial against pro-independence leaders involved in last year’s push for independence is also expected to unfold. This with the backdrop of Sánchez warning of reapplying Article 155 should the Catalan government follow a unilateral way once more.
Windows of opportunity
Torra is determined to find “windows of opportunity” as well as having “contingency plans” in order to implement an independent Catalonia. The president has warned that he is willing to go “until the end” with a social majority that he considers “sufficient” to culminate the objective of his investiture as head of the executive: moving from reforming self-government in Catalonia to the creation of a republic.
He has said that he will not present any roadmap towards independence at the conference, but rather focus on the “commitment” to “contingency plans” in different scenarios. He is expected to criticize that the declaration of independence on October 27 last year was not carried out with the same levels of political strategy seen in the organization of the independence referendum.
He is also to insist that pro-independence forces must be sufficiently prepared to face the coming challenges and attacks from Spain, especially with regard to the trial of the jailed pro-independence leaders for their role in the referendum.
Article 155 warning
Sánchez’s warning to reapply Article 155, therefore stripping Catalonia of its autonomy again, if Torra tries to push for independence and separation from Spain once more, will also be key in the coming weeks. This, especially after Ciutadans, the People’s Party, and the Socialists in Catalonia stated their support for the Spanish president’s statement.
Vote on self-government, not independence
The pro-independence movement has consistently called for a referendum, and while the Spanish government now seems willing to agree to a vote, it would not be on independence, but on a new statute defining the extent of Catalonia’s self-government -but always within Spain.
In a radio in interview on Monday morning, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez suggested resolving the political conflict in Catalonia by holding “a referendum on self-government, but not one on self-determination.”
Sánchez said his government aims to allow Catalans to vote on a new Statute of Autonomy, which provides the legal framework covering the rights and obligations of citizens in Catalonia, as well as its financing, political institutions and reserved powers.