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Catalonia: The end of the “process”

The restoration of legality via the application of Article 155 gives a breath of fresh air to an exhausted society

Two people with the pro-independence flag on Saturday outside the Palau de la Generalitat.
Two people with the pro-independence flag on Saturday outside the Palau de la Generalitat. Getty Images

After several weeks of tensions that culminated in the declaration of independence approved on Friday by the Catalan parliament, and the subsequent passing in the Senate of the government’s plan to restore constitutional legality, Catalonia saw a day of significant calm on Saturday.

On the one hand, the measures taken by the government under Article 155 of the Constitution began to be put in place. It is worth noting the normality with which the heads of security and public order in the region accepted the removal from their roles, and called on their successors to convey this throughout the chain of command. The fluidity and tone with which the head of the Mossos regional police force by his second-in-command cleared up a major uncertainty. The disappearance of any doubt about the role of the Mossos in the coming weeks was absolutely essential ahead of ensuring that constitutional order be restored and elections can be celebrated with guarantees of security, rights and freedoms.

It is worth noting the normality with which the heads of security and public order in the region accepted the removal

The same can’t be said for now of public Catalan broadcaster TV3, another crucial institution for the return to normality, and which on Saturday broadcast a message from the now former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont during which he pretended to not be aware that he had been sacked, and appeared in a fraudulent manner to still be heading up the regional government. This fact reminds us that the Catalan public broadcasters, which have been questioned regularly for their role in the pro-secession process, must not leave any doubts about their vocation to offer rigorous, high-quality information for all of Catalan society.

In any case, it is fundamental that the ambiguities that Puigdemont expressed in his message are clarified. Not even Puigdemont can have any doubts about the fact that he has been removed from his role, together with the rest of the regional government, under Article 155 of the Constitution. The clarity of this point should not only be absolute when it comes to putting an end to the lamentable perception that there has been until now with respect to the existence of alternative legalities, but also determinant in terms of settling the legal future of Puigdemont himself.

The trauma of these divisions passed yesterday to a horizon of coexistence in peace without ruptures

But the most important point is that Saturday saw the streets and everyday life characterized by complete normality. That’s no small matter in a society that has been deliberately polarized for years by the pro-independence movement. The trauma of these divisions passed yesterday to a horizon of coexistence in peace without ruptures. Despite what the pro-independence rhetoric might say, Article 155 is not an assault on Catalan society, but rather relief from a toxic process that has affected politics, the economy and civil society, one that has generated complete exhaustion, if not to say fear.

The non-existent impact inside and outside Catalonia of the independence declaration on Friday proves how far the pro-secessionist forces have forced proceedings, twisted the facts and subjected citizens to huge stresses with their illegalities, changes of course and internal divisions. The moment of their complete discrediting has now arrived. With the bizarre and devious approach and with the decisive drive of society and the state, the process has brought about its own defeat, in the clear view of all. What lies ahead now is to see that this failure leads to the recovery of political, economic and civic normality. This will require everyone to collaborate as much as is possible to achieve a climate of calm, respect and coexistence ahead of the elections on December 21.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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