The leader of ERC party, Oriol Junqueras, has said that the trial and the subsequent sentence against him and some other 20 officials over the independence push last October  “will weigh heavily in Spain’s history.” In an interview with Catalan newspaper Ara, Junqueras, who has been in pre-trial jail for over a year, also reacted to the proposed 25-year prison sentence by the Spanish general prosecutor: “Any sentence other than absolution will be an unfair sentence”.

Asked about his expectations ahead of the trial, he claimed that he has no fear to facing the judges, and he said that the trial will be “an opportunity” to explain that the political prisoners are innocent. “We have to turn the trial into a lever, in the quintessential educational element” he added.

Junqueras, who confessed that not being with his children is the “toughest and most painful” side of his precautionary detention, said that an election could be “useful” after the sentence, but he said it would be also good that “the executive governs.”

Agreed referendum

His party, ERC, has taken a more moderate stance over independence over the past year and is defending an agreed referendum on self-determination and widening the support for the movement rather than promoting tension with Spain and trying to implement independence without any agreement. Yet, no Spanish government has ever shown any intention of agreeing on such a vote.

“We have to turn the now impossible agreed referendum in unavoidable” he said. “If in all elections we get unequivocal pro-independence majorities which every time surpasses by more the half of the votes, this is an unsustainable situation for Spain.”