Twelve senior members of the Catalan independence movement will stand trial in Madrid on Tuesday over their alleged roles in the region’s failed bid to secede from Spain in autumn 2017. Here are some of the key figures in the push for independence: Oriol Junqueras The former Catalan vice-president and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party has been in pre-trial custody since November 2017. He faces a 25-year sentence if found guilty of charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds brought by the public prosecutor, or a 12-year sentence if found guilty of the sedition charge brought by the state’s attorney. Junqueras, 49, was a history professor before going into politics and eventually rising to the top of the ERC in 2011. Since entering prison, he has taken a more considered approach to the path towards independence than the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, mirroring the growing divisions between the two main pro-independence Catalan parties. … [Read more...] about The key figures in the push for Catalan independence
Catalonia’s vice-president has warned the looming verdict in the trial of 12 separatist leaders could trigger the formation of a regional “government of national unity” of pro-independence parties and those in favour of an officially agreed referendum on self-determination. Speaking as Catalonia prepares to celebrate its national day (Diada) on Wednesday, Pere Aragonès said such an alliance would help increase the pressure on the Spanish government to find a political solution to the Catalan issue. A dozen separatist leaders, including Aragonès’s predecessor, Oriol Junqueras, are on trial at Spain’s supreme court over their alleged roles in the failed push for regional independence in October 2017. Nine of them – including Junqueras, the former speaker of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell, and two influential grassroots activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez – are accused of rebellion, which carries a prison sentence of … [Read more...] about Catalan separatists’ trial verdict ‘could lead to unity government’
Catalan pro-independence parties have held their absolute majority in snap regional elections, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government, which had called the polls in the hope of heading off the secessionist push. The deposed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, described the result as a “a slap to the face” to the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. The three separatist parties won a total of 70 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament even though the centre-right, pro-unionist Citizens party was the single biggest winner, taking 37 seats. Between them, the three parties will have enough seats to reassemble the parliamentary majority that put them into office after the 2015 elections if they can agree a new coalition. However, they once again failed to attract a majority in favour of independence: taking 47.7% of the vote and two seats down in comparison with the last election. Together for Catalonia – the party led by Puigdemont – took 34 seats, … [Read more...] about Catalan pro-independence parties keep their majority in snap poll
On 27 September Catalonia’s voters went to the polls and with a record 77.4% turnout gave a win in every single electoral district to the political forces whose campaign promise was, if elected, that they would follow a “roadmap” towards Catalan independence from Spain. Pro-independence lists obtained 48% of the votes and 72 seats out of 135, whereas unionist lists got 39% of the votes and 52 seats. These plebiscitary elections were the only way possible to give the Catalan people the vote on the political future they have long called for, after the Spanish government’s longstanding refusal to allow an independence referendum. The vote was the culmination of an incredible four years of mass citizen mobilisation. Our independence movement is not a sudden whim, not something dreamt up by a political party, or dominated by a single figure. It is the people who, on Catalonia’s national day, 11 September, come out year after year on to the streets in their … [Read more...] about The Catalan people have spoken. Will the Spanish government listen?