Misc 29/10/2017

Puigdemont calls for "democratic opposition to 155" without violence

Catalan president does not accept Madrid’s suspension: "In democratic societies, it is parliaments that remove presidents from office"

Gerard Pruna
2 min

BarcelonaMaintain "democratic opposition to 155". This was the message from Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat, on Saturday morning. It was an institutional message with which he de-facto signalled that he does not accept his suspension and will continue to act as leader of the Catalan administration.

In an institutional statement made from the courtyard of the Generalitat's headquarters in Girona, he lauded elected representatives for following the mandate of September 27, "when the majority that emerged from the election entrusted Parliament with a proclamation of independence". Puigdemont thus made reference to those elections, and not to October 1st.

In his speech, however, Puigdemont did not specifically address a handful of unknowns. Principally, whether he accepts his suspension or otherwise will remain as head of the Generalitat. Neither did he present the reaction of the Catalan government and independence parties to the snap elections called by Spanish President Mariano Rajoy for December 21st. According to Spain’s EFE news wire, the Catalan administration is even studying the possibility of calling constituent elections for the end of the year.

Puigdemont merely criticized the Spanish government for making "decisions that go against the will of the people expressed at the polls". "In democratic societies, it is parliaments that remove presidents from office", he said. The president remarked that the will of his government is to "continue working to obey democratic mandates and, at the same time, seek maximum stability and peace".

Puigdemont admitted the "logistical difficulties inherent in this stage of a process", which Catalonia has never experienced, and called on the people to continue their defense during this time with “a tireless civic sense and peaceful commitment". "We will not stray from our course: we will continue to persevere in the only attitude that can make us winners. Without violence, without insults, without excluding anyone, respecting people, symbols, and opinions, and also respecting the protests of those Catalans who do not agree with what the parliamentary majority has decided", he remarked.

For this, the president called on the people to act with "patience, perseverance, and perspective", and stressed that the best way to "defend the achievements reached to date is through democratic opposition to the application of Article 155 [of the Spanish Constitution]”, which he referred to as "a premeditated aggression against the will of Catalans, an overwhelming majority of whom have viewed themselves as a European nation for many years”.

Puigdemont did not, however, specify the form that this democratic opposition should take, and only called on people to do so to protect against "repression and threats" and "without ever abandoning, never at any moment, civic and peaceful behavior". "We do not have nor do we want the reason of force. Not us. I ask you this convinced that this request is what everyone wants, outside of our country as well", he stressed.

The president ended his speech by affirming that he will persevere "to build a free country" with less injustice and more equality, solidarity, and "fraternity with all the peoples of the world, beginning with the people of Spain, with whom we want to bind ourselves out of mutual respect and recognition".