The parliament of Catalonia today passed a declaration aimed at setting in motion the process leading to independence from Spain. The measure was passed with an absolute majority of 72 votes to 63, with no abstentions.
As expected, the votes of the pro-independence forces Together for Yes and CUP were enough to push the resolution through. After the vote, the pro-independence representatives rose and applauded, while those from the PP also rose, holding Spanish and Catalan flags.
Among the highlights of the text that was passed is the statement that the Catalan parliament and the democratic process of separation from Spain will no longer be subject to the decisions issued by Spanish institutions, particularly the constitutional court.
The resolution also sets in motion the process of drafting a constitution for the new Catalan state, and it specifies the issues on which the future government will only be applying Catalan legislation.
In his arguments in favour of the text, the head of the Together for Yes electoral list, Raul Romeva, said: ‘Some people still believe that arming the courts with legalistic weapons will silence our outcry. But there is no stopping this. If not today, then tomorrow. If not us, then it will be others. But this nation has said loud and clear that the time to go all out has come’.
Ana Gabriel, the speaker, from CUP, addressed Spain’s government, military, and courts when she said: ‘Look us in the eyes, feel our heartbeat, and you will see a joyful, lively, and combative people who are striving to be. You will not see supporters of coup d’états, authoritarianism, or impositions’.
Before the vote, the president of the PP’s parliamentary group, Xavier García Albiol, had strong words against the pro-independence resolution: ‘Neither Mas, nor Junqueres, nor the radical left will succeed in separating Catalonia from Spain’. Along the same lines, the leader of Ciutadans, Inés Arrimadas, said that the resolution shows ‘blatant disregard for the blood, sweat, and tears’ of the citizens of Catalonia.
The Spanish government responds
The Spanish government’s reaction was not long in coming. President Mariano Rajoy held a last-minute press conference to announce that on Wednesday the cabinet would challenge the independence resolution on grounds of unconstitutionality, as it had stated it would. The attack mounted against the president of the Catalan parliament, Carmen Forcadell, is remarkable. Rajoy said he would be asking Spain’s constitutional court to inform him of the consequences of disobeying the court’s ruling on the matter.
“Jordi Turull i Negre and Marta Rovira i Vergés, as president and spokesperson for JUNTS PEL SÍ Parliamentary Group, and Antonio Baños Boncompain and Anna Gabriel i Sabaté, as president and spokesperson for the CANDIDATURA D’UNITAT POPULAR Parliamentary Group, as established in articles 164 and 165 of the Parliament Regulation, present the following proposed resolution to be substantiated before the Parliamentary Plenary by the process of urgency. To these effects, at the same time we ask for the Meeting of Spokespersons to be held urgently.
According to the democratic mandate obtained on 27 September, the parliamentary groups here signing present this proposed resolution.
The Parliament of Catalonia:
ONE. Hereby notes that the democratic mandate obtained in the past elections on 27 September 2015 is based on a majority of seats of the parliamentary forces so that Catalonia might become an independent state and with a large sovereigntist majority in votes and seats, which leans towards the start of an unsubordinated constituting process.
TWO. Solemnly declares the beginning of the process to create an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic.
THREE. Proclaims the start of the citizens’, participative, open, integrating and active constituting process in order to lay the bases for the future Catalan constitution.
FOUR. Calls upon the future government to take all necessary measures to make these declarations effective.
FIVE. Considers it pertinent within a maximum time of thirty days to start to process the laws of the constituting process, of social security and the public tax office.
SIX. As the depository of the sovereignty and expression of the constituting power, it reiterates that this Parliament and the process of democratic separation will not be subject to the decisions of the institutions of the Spanish state, and particularly of the Constitutional Court, which it considers to be delegitimised and without competence following the sentence of June 2010 regarding the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia previously voted by the people in a referendum, amongst others.
SEVEN. Will take all necessary measures to start this process of democratic, massive, sustained and peaceful separation from the Spanish state in such a way as to allow the empowerment of the citizens on all levels and based on open, active and integrating participation.
EIGHT. Calls on the future government to fulfil only those rules or mandates arising from this legitimate and democratic chamber, in order to strengthen the fundamental rights which might be affected by the decisions of the institutions of the Spanish state.
NINE. Declares the will to start negotiations in order to make effective the democratic mandate of creation of an independent Catalan state in the form of a republic, and hereby to inform the Spanish state, the European Union and the whole of the international community thereof.”