Leave trouble aside and recover unity in the path towards the referendum. This is the roadmap of the pro-independence movement after Carles Puigdemont hosted meeting between those most responsible for the referendum in order to solve any possible discrepancies and show an image of unity.
The meeting did indeed produce such calls, starting by the vice president of the executive, Oriol Junqueras. In an act near Barcelona, the chairman of ERC tried not to dig deeper into the last days’ episodes of mistrust and praised “the compromise we all share” to make the consultation possible. During a radio interview, Marta Pascal, general coordinator of the PDeCat, also asked not to “vent out” discrepancies and preserve unity in favour of the referendum.
The pro-sovereignty parties tried thus to leave behind the beginning of the week, which has been marked by intra-government division about who should buy the ballot boxes for the referendum – as ARA advanced, the Vice President office has verbally asked the Governation ministry to do so, but this latter office asks for a written petition – and by the telling-off by the Government to Marta Rovira, General Secretary of ERC for having disclosed details about the consultation. The objective, according to sources from the executive, is to make a strategy to “assume collectively the offensive of a state that does not allow us to vote and acts against us”. “We need to keep the strengths that brought us here”, add parliamentary sources.
Both the PDeCat and ERC tried to diminish the importance of the disagreements. “The closer we get to the ‘D’ Day, the higher the tensions grow, it is normal”, defended a former government high officer who nevertheless was convinced that these tensions will be solved and that the referendum will be called. In order to dissipate the possible doubts on the compromise of the Government, this Wednesday, Puigdemont and Junqueras published an article in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, in which they assured that “renouncing” to a referendum in 2017, is “the only thing” the Catalan executive “shall not do. Meanwhile, the CUP insists that if there is “political determination”, the Government can do the referendum.
So that the vote can take place, the Executive will need to watch for more than the internal obstacles. The Spanish general attorney monitors each step of the Catalan Government and Parliament, to the extent that the members of the cabinet have already received five warnings that they could be held liable for penal responsibilities should they disobey the Constitutional Court rulings. Five warnings that can be a tombstone should, like in the 9th of November consultation, the members of the Government be brought before a court.
The consulted sources admit that a new phase has come and that the government members have a lot more at the stake than just a disqualification: after the suspension of the budget chapters for the referendum by the Constitutional Court, they are conscious that besides disobedience and prevarication (with which the 9th of November responsibles were tried for) they could be as well tried for embezzlement, which is punishable by prison. Facing these difficulties, ERC sources point out that “unity and discretion before all” are needed, also the collective assumption of difficulties. The Government “as a whole”, according to these sources, would be “the best image, the one showing most strength and determination” to carry out the referendum. An opinion which not all the executive shares and that generates resistence between junior positions.
Source: ARA, 13th of April 2017
Authors: Núria Orriols and Gerard Pruna