Rajoy, prepared to outlaw Catalonia

Suso De Toro
3 min

Mariano Rajoy made an appeal to Spanish public opinion, taking the starring role in a story written and directed by him. His address, speaking in the name of democracy, peaceful coexistence and the recognition of plurality is a complete distortion of these very values. He and his party are largely responsible for the fact that a political conflict which they created, has now become a problem of a judicial, institutional nature and quite possibly a problem for public order. Rajoy and his party are the architects of the Kingdom of Spain’s institutional crisis.

Master of the State

It was Rajoy who initiated the process that has led us to where we are today. Rajoy, the man with the 4 million signatures against the Statute and the overturning of the Catalan charter by a Constitutional Court from which a Catalan judge was removed and in which the term served by the judges was extended in an irregular manner. Rajoy’s campaign to stir up centralist Spanish nationalism and his manoeuvres to defeat Catalan self-government —as was done previously with the Basques—, and to wear down Zapatero's government, resulted in a Statute approved by both the Catalan and Spanish parliaments and ratified in a referendum which ended up being manipulated and truncated in a humiliating manner by the self-same impromptu Constitutional Court.

In Thursday’s statement, Rajoy was careful to appear to be open to dialogue while accusing Puigdemont of being opposed to dialogue. A bare-faced lie. On this occasion, he managed to recognize that the Spanish Constitution could be reformed, even though Rajoy had closed off any political-legal avenue in which a vote would be allowed. He is as cynical as they come. Nevertheless, everything has an explanation and a beginning, undoubtedly everything comes down to a conflict of interests between Madrid’s court and Catalonia. However, the ideological and personal aspect is the triumph of post-Francoism and Mariano Rajoy’s revenge. Rajoy, the politician who began by fighting the Constitution and who was finally able to take control, not only of the Spanish government and its administration but of the resulting state, from the Court of Auditors to the justice system as a whole, while turning the Constitutional Court into a sectarian weapon.

Rajoy has succeeded. The man who fought the Constitution and opposed the regions’ statutes has expelled Catalonia from the constitutional consensus and now seeks to dismantle or even imprison the Catalan government and the Parliamentary Bureau by means of the criminal charges brought by "his" Attorney General. Since the threat also extends to the 947 Catalan mayors, Rajoy will doubtless outlaw Catalonia if it doesn’t surrender, as if he were the Count-Duke of Olivares [PM of Spain from 1621 to 1643, whose attempts to centralise power and increase wartime taxation led to revolts in Catalonia and Portugal, bringing about his downfall]. It looks as if the Catalan government ought to contemplate going into exile again.

Every step of the way has been carefully calculated, starting with the PP using its absolute majority rushing to pass an express reform of the Constitutional Court's organic law in 2015. Perversely, Rajoy is using the law to put an end to democracy. He has transformed a political conflict into a lawsuit, since he is well aware that both the law and the State are under his control.

There has been talk of a coup. But if one really wishes to speak the truth, one ought to think about how, slowly and surely, the PP has taken over the state. Some let them get away with it, others just accept it, while others are their accomplices. But let's not forget that Rajoy is the narrator of this story and that life goes on around him. It is no coincidence that he spoke about Catalonia on the same day it was announced that of the €55 billion he spent on bailing out the banks almost nothing will be repaid. And there was no referendum on that decision either. By the way, what does the PNB [Basque Nationalist Party] have to say on the matter?