Catalan people have been called by the Parliament to Presidential Elections, scheduled for the last Sunday of November. Some insights follow.
Catalonia is living days of hope and excitement about the possibility of improving their political balance within Spain. For the second time since 2010, over a million Catalans have demonstrated in Barcelona claiming for their own state. On September 11 2012 one and a half million people marched peacefully and festively for a few hours under the slogan: "Catalonia, a new state of Europe".
The news is this time the President of Catalonia, MH Artur Mas, has taken on the popular claim and has offered to lead the process of building new "structures of state" to better suit the long-standing political pursuits of the Catalan people. Following the ongoing open debate in the streets of Barcelona over the construction of a new state, presidential parliamentary elections have been called for 25/N.
Before its dissolution, the current Catalan Parliament has agreed by 2/3 of the parliamentarians to summon the yet-unelected next Government to organise a self-determination referendum over the next few years —which is something that Spain strongly opposes and would not allow. It's the right to self-determination that centres the Catalan campaign, and there is the spread willingness that all civil institutions (and particularly political parties) should take a clear stand regarding their support to a self-determination referendum.
From the standpoint of a liberal democracy, after the public display of civic power in Barcelona (the demonstration gathered about 1/5 of the country's population), it seems fitting that the Parliament agrees to extend to the next-to-be president of Catalonia an invitation to work towards auto-determination. But that view is not shared in Madrid. The biggest Spanish political forces both in the government (PP, Mariano Rajoy) and in the opposition (PSOE) have joined efforts to oppose the Catalan self-determination referendum. Their view is that the Spanish Constitution sets that it is Spain which is a sovereign estate, and it's their understanding that in use of this sovereignty all Spaniards should have a vote in the event of such a self-determination referendum in Catalonia (provided that they allowed such referendum, which neither PP nor PSOE seem willing to, anyway).
Catalans won't understand why should any club member depend on the views of other members in order to withdraw from the club. As a husband does not need his wife's agreement to file a divorce. On the other hand, Castilians have never understood Catalans as fellow club members but as subordinates due to right of conquest (1714-09-11). At this time and age! (An attempt to such a democratic amputation had not been seen in Spain since the outlaw of Herri Batasuna in the Basque Country in the mid-nineties. And then, that was justified by the war on terrorism.) In this setting, the President of Catalonia has proved a brilliant tactician. Pressed by Generalitat's drastic dire straits, Mr. Mas has put himself in front of the civic movement with solemnity, authority and wit, setting the tempo of the current events. I had not enjoyed so much of a politician since the speeches of our first Obama.
May no-one be abandoned.