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A monumental fraud in Catalonia

Defenders of the independence cause have made a mockery of democracy and citizens with their latest parliamentary acrobatics

Plenary session of the Catalan Parliament on Thursday.
Plenary session of the Catalan Parliament on Thursday. EL PAÍS

Two months after the Catalan elections were held, it is a certified fact that agitation is the separatists’ only governing program. Defenders of the cause have made a mockery of democracy and citizens with their latest parliamentary acrobatics: at the last minute they withdrew their written support for the unilateral independence declaration from a motion that was passed on Thursday in the regional assembly. They also (provisionally?) gave up on appointing Carles Puigdemont as the new premier, yet backed his legitimacy and the outcome of the so-called referendum that was illegally held on October 1 with no guarantees of transparency or impartiality.

The latest Catalan opinion poll shows that pro-independence sentiment is losing traction

The justice system will determine whether illegal decisions were made – again – at this latest session of the Catalan parliament. In the meantime, it is evident that the tactics employed by the separatist camp, which is so fond of talking about legitimacy, the popular mandate and the rules, are in fact eroding the Catalan institutions that guarantee self-government. The parliament is probably the most relevant of those institutions, and in it, we have seen the opposition systematically ignored and considered a disorderly element. Much better, indeed, to create a Belgium-based Council of the Republic as a constituent assembly with no room for opposition parties. This is the dream of all totalitarian movements.

The Catalan separatist bloc has been showing contempt for citizens and torpedoing self-governing institutions for a long time now, and thereby eroding the foundations of representative democracy. The rules of the game are being raffled off, only favorable votes are considered valid (the nearly two million Catalans who voted for constitution-abiding parties do not count), and higher institutions are turned into stages on which to play out their absurdities on the strength of their feeble majority.

It is a serious matter that separatists are intent on blocking the restoration of Catalan self-rule by refusing to facilitate the creation of a government that would automatically end the application of Article 155 of the Constitution. It is a strategy that feeds its well-exploited culture of victim-hood, which got a solemn show of support on Thursday through the separatist votes in parliament. The pro-independence movement, says the motion that was passed, is the victim of “a generalized repression by the Spanish state” exercised via a “general cause against Catalonia.”

The justice system will determine whether illegal decisions were made – again – at this plenary session of the Catalan parliament

Regardless of how well this may work for these victim-hood professionals, who blame the enemy for everything, the worst part about events in Catalonia is the insidious way in which democratic structures are being dismantled; structures that until not long ago guaranteed the rights and freedoms of all Catalans. In short, it is a monumental fraud that they persist in prolonging.

The latest Catalan opinion poll shows that pro-independence sentiment is losing traction, and this could mean that many people who once placed their trust in separatists could now start feeling like victims of the same fraud. Because if it is painful for the central government to impose direct rule, it is even worse for institutions to be discredited and completely inoperational in the name of a political project that is devoid of content and built by leaders who fail to respect the basic rules of democratic coexistence.

English version by Susana Urra.

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