JxCat sources call CUP's proposal for a new referendum a "useless and stupid gesture"

Speaker would risk disqualification over "pure childishness and partisanship"

3 min
The President of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, during the general policy debate

BarcelonaFor the first time in this legislature, yesterday the Parliamentary bureau admitted problematic resolutions related to self-determination that can place it in the spotlight. The pro-independence members of Together for Catalonia (JxCat), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and anti-capitalist CUP, headed by the Speaker, Laura Borràs, endorsed the processing of a CUP resolution proposing a new referendum this legislature and that can contravene – according to the constitutionalist opposition – the mandates of the Constitutional Court on the Independence bid. After Vox threatened with lawsuits, sources close to Borràs have expressed her discomfort over the CUP's initiative, and JxCat MP Francesc Dalmases openly wrote on Twitter that the gesture was "useless and stupid", in addition to accusing the CUP of "partisanship".

Dalmases wrote: "We are fortunate to have a Speaker, Laura Borràs, and a Bureau secretary , Aurora Madaula, willing to go as far as necessary for independence. Out of pure childishness and political partisanship, today they are risking their disqualification". The two previous Bureaux admitted similar proposals – JxCat has always pressed for all proposals to be discussed in parliament – and have met unfortunate outcomes: members have been barred, a former Speaker was only this year freed after serving a prison sentence and other members are facing charges. Former Speaker Roger Torrent recently appeared before Catalonia's High Court for having processed resolutions in favour of self-determination and against the monarchy, along with Eusebi Campdepadrós (JxCat) and Adriana Delgado (ERC). The former vice Speaker Josep Costa, who had always been very critical of Torrent for his doubts around processing symbolic resolutions that could contravene the Constitutional Court, decided not to appear in court because he does not, he said, recognise Spanish justice.

According to parliamentary sources, bureau members have expressed their discomfort with the CUP for presenting an initiative that may involve the risk of being disqualified. In addition, it will most likely go ahead because ERC and JxCat will not support it. Sources in JxCat parliamentary group differentiate the current situation and the previous term: "At least the risk was taken on knowing that the resolutions would be approved". They criticise, at this point, that the CUP has presented the proposal without consensus of the pro-independence movement and that it will probably end in failure.

However, the CUP's resolution is not the only one that can generate problems: there is also a joint text by ERC and JxCat that speaks of "culminating the independence process" without more specifics that also generates legal doubts – the Catalan Socialists' Party (PSC) voted against its admission – and that also places the bureau in the spotlight. This one, however, is expected to go ahead with the votes of the pro-independence majority.

This discomfort contrasts with what happened at the beginning of the legislature: JxCat decided to remove Jaume Alonso Cuevillas after saying he was not in favour of processing symbolic resolutions that entail disqualifications in an interview with Vilaweb. "Immolation has to be done if it has effectiveness", said Cuevillas at that time. Borràs defended that Cuevillas's exit was agreed with him after he abstained on the decision to allow the exiled Junts MP Lluís Puig to vote remotely.

No agreement on the CUP's referendum

On the other hand, this morning in Parliament there have been talks between ERC, JxCat and CUP to try to bring positions closer over the question of the referendum. The talks were not successful. Thus, if there is no last-minute plot twist, the general policy debate will end this Thursday afternoon without ERC, JxCat and the CUP managing to agree on a joint motion for a resolution on the direction that the Independence bid should take. Sources say representatives of the three parties have met this morning in Parliament to try to agree on a single position, but it has not been possible.

Neither ERC nor JxCat want to join the CUP's proposal which speaks of a unilateral referendum nor does the CUP want to join JxCat and ERC's proposal that the 2017 Referendum result can only be replaced by an agreed referendum. Now we will have to see which way they vote. The CUP's proposal will in all likelihood not prosper, but it is possible that neither will JxCat and ERC's. If one thing is clear, it is that the gap between the government and the CUP is widening.

Parliament will hear this Thursday the last session of the general policy debate, which will begin debating and voting all the proposals by all parliamentary groups. One of these will be the last-minute agreement between PSC and JxCat, in which they show the support for the €1.7bn investment to expand El Prat airport, now withdrawn. ERC, however, opposes the project due to its environmental impact on La Ricarda lagoon. JxCat and PSC add that they also wish to maintain the investments in high speed railway stations in Reus and Girona airports and that the project would have to be done "seeking maximum respect for biodiversity, the protected natural space of the Llobregat delta and the European environmental directives", Aleix Moldes reports.