“Prohibiting the referendum is illegal”

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup, Vilaweb

Law and Right should not be given to the rival team. Doors should not be closed. And a show of force of the pro-sovereignty can be dressed in court robes. So can be summarised the presentation of the “Jurists for the Referendum” manifesto, which left the College of Lawyers auditorium overcrowded. On the first rows the MP Lluís Llach, the Catalan Minister for Justice Carles Mundó were spotted, as well as many pro-independence and pro-sovereignty personalities.The key points of the manifesto can be found here. Its spirit of understanding law as an instrument for problem solving rather than blocking and the idea that the referendum would be legally possible should there be a political will for it must be highlighted. As well, the manifesto does not discard OTHER WAYS (all caps in the original document) for Catalans to express their opinion.

The most political intervention was the one by Jaume Asens, alderman of the Barcelona local government. Asens, who is not part of a pro-independence party despite him holding this position, insisted he does believe that the unilateral way should be an option if the agreed referendum is not allowed: “In this blockade context, it is then legitimate to start thinking about other ways. As a Spanish politician, Íñigo Errejón, said, when the possibility of a bilateral relation is denied, then the door is opened to resistance and unilateral action. However, Asens also insisted not to give Right, Laws and Legitimacy to the rival time, and insisted that the referendum would not be outside neither the Law or the Constitution.

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Source: Vilaweb

he most juridical and technical intervention was done by Gemma Calvet, former independent MP for ERC and now director of the transparency area of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area authority. Her intervention was strong, precise and in some moments, delightful and divided in three ideas: what is not forbidden is legal; political pluralism must be the key to interpret laws; and laws must be instruments in service of justice. Calvet made, we think, the statement of the night ‘Here I denounce the illegality of forbidding the referendum. Forbidding it is illegal”, and argued the fact that the referendum was part of perfectly legal political programmes which won the last elections with a wide majority and, therefore, it is the people with his vote that now, has made the referendum legal. Forbidding it would be against the law. Then she went on in reflections of the unity of Justice and Law, and that the former cannot be sacrificed for the latter. And the state visions are not everything, as shown in cases of multi-national companies which forgo states in making agreements, sometimes against their interest, and no-one presents causes against globalisation.

Joan Queralt, Law professor of the University of Barcelona, made an empathic and informative intervention. To start with, he said that the names of the six hundred people who had signed the manifesto could not be made public: “Because we are afraid. So it goes. I would not like that the fact that I’m a penalist would me a presage of something”. The joke stirred a few nervous laughs. Since this, we suppose, is another difference of the manifesto presented yesterday and that presented a few weeks ago in the same place, but by pro-union jursits of the “Freedoms” platform. Unionist do not fear any retributions whatsoever. So it goes, as well. But let us not exagerate: most of the signers posed for a family photo and the thirty first names of the manifesto could be read without any problems, including some relevant lawyers and political personalities.

Finally Miquel Sàmper, alderman for the PDECat in Terrassa spoke, with a most curious statement. When he spoke about the different dfinitions of “conflict” in Law theory he said: “We say that a conflict is terminal when it can lead to war or revolution. And it’s serious what I say, because here the public prosecutors have brought people before court for saying ‘you need to break eggs to make an omelette’. Imagine what could happen to me”. He said he does not like this kind of conflict but the one that brings dinamism and changes. And that the word “conflict” should not scare us.

Lawyers do make a living out of conflicts indeed.

The final intervention by Jaume Asens ws also very interesting, comparing the creation of Esquerra Republicana on the 1930s, from a convergence of very different people, with the actual moment, where many, very diverse people unite around the idea of the referendum, be they pro-independence or not. That was the concluding remark of Joan Ignasi Elena, chairman of the National Agreement for the Referendum and the person who closed the act: the referendum belongs to the people, not to any side of it. To everyone.

Source: Vilaweb, 4th of May 2017

Author: Andreu Barnils

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