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Catalan Separatist Parties Move To Accept New Regional Elections Within Constitution, Despite “New Republic”

Oct 31 2017—NEWS—Catalan National Assembly says it only recognises the republic but that it will take part in the Article 155 elections called by Rajoy.

Separatist parties that took part in the independence vote on Friday in the Catalan parliament and celebrated the new Catalan Republic now mostly appear ready to accept the normal regional elections called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy under Article 155 powers to suspend home rule in the region.

Republican Catalan Left (Esquerra, ERC) spokesman Sergi Sabrià labelled the December 21 vote “illegitimate” and “a trap” but added that “nevertheless, we are not afraid of the ballot box”.

During a TV interview on Monday evening, Esquerra leader Oriol Junqueras said “the big question is if the Spanish government will respect the election results”.

“Those of us who are in love with democracy do not fall out of love because the elections are called by someone else”, he said.

PDeCat spokeswoman Marta Pascal said “we are not afraid of the ballot box, it is a chance to defend a project. We do not accept the wretched application of Article 155”.

Santa Vila, the former PDeCat regional business secretary who resigned just before the vote on Friday—and who was included in the Public Prosector’s accusation before the National High Court in Madrid on Monday—said during a radio interview on Tuesday morning that he would be interested in leading his party now.

He said Carles Puigdemont’s flight to Brussels had been “a surprise” to the party leadership in Barcelona.

It is not clear if Esquerra and PDeCat will try to repeat the separatist electoral coalition they named Junts Pel Sí (“Together For Yes”).

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The CUP, the radical-left minority party that has propped up Junts Pel Sí in the regional parliament, was more cautious in its remarks, but did not rule out taking part.

Spokesman Benet Salellas said during a TV interview on Tuesday morning that “we have always said we do not believe in magical independence, which is a long race, and we had to be ready for it to last months and years”.

“We are not going to get into a debate about lists and elections, which are taking place in a context of clear anti-democratic exceptionality.”

The powerful Catalan National Assembly (ANC) said it “only recognises the Catalan Republic” and rejected the application of Article 155, but admitted it would call a meeting “before November 3” to decide on a “joint strategy” for the December 21 ballot.

“Our only aim is to obtain a clear victory that ratifies the Republic”, said the ANC statement: “and restores sovereignty to the legitimate representatives of the Catalan people”.

None of the 33 Esquerra or PDeCat MPs or senators in Madrid had resigned by Monday, El País reported.

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