Tag Archives: Catalonia

This afternoon.

The Socialist Party (PSOE) of caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez won the highest number of seats but fell short of an absolute majority at the repeat general election in Spain on Sunday.

With around 99% of the vote counted, the PSOE had taken 120 seats – three fewer than the result it managed at the April 28 general election. The conservative Popular Party (PP) won 87 seats – a major gain from the 66 seats it secured in April, its worst result ever.

But far-right group Vox saw the most significant rise, jumping from 24 to 52 seats, to become the third-largest party in Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies.

Socialists win repeat Spanish election, Vox becomes third-biggest force in Congress (El Pais)

Meanwhile

Across Europe and beyond, as an increasingly fragmented political landscape becomes more polarised and voters increasingly see issues of identity, not the economy, as the key battleground, countries are finding elections no longer have clear outcomes.

Sometimes, this can mean no government can be formed at all: Spain has been ruled by Sánchez’s caretaker administration since April and that looks likely to continue for some time. Another example is Israel, where elections in September failed to resolve the deadlock left by equally inconclusive polls in April.

Other times, coalitions can be built, but only after increasingly difficult negotiations: the Netherlands (208 days) and Sweden (more than four months) set new records in 2017 and 2018. Belgium has now been 170 days without a government, though that is still some way off its 541-day record after the 2010 elections.

Why is this happening?

In part because, from Germany to France, Italy to Austria and Spain to Sweden to Israel, fewer and fewer people are voting for the big, broad-church centre-right and centre-left parties that have dominated their respective national political stages since the end of the second world war.

Spain’s PP and PSOE would once garner 80% of the vote between them; they managed barely 48% on Sunday. In the Netherlands, the three big mainstream parties scraped barely 40% together at the previous general election – roughly the proportion that any one of them might previously have expected.

Spain stalemate shows inconclusive elections are the new normal (The Guardian)

Graphic: The Guardian

Women hold a Catalan pro-independence “Estelada” flag in Barcelona this morning Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to prison terms ranging from nine to 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds for their role in a failed 2017 independence bid.

This morning.

Protests were immediately staged across Catalonia as Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to prison terms of between nine and 13 years for sedition for their role in a failed independence bid in 2017.

The long-awaited verdicts were less than those demanded by the prosecutionwhich had sought up to 25 years behind bars for former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras on grounds of rebellion.

Catalonia leaders jailed for sedition by Spanish court (BBC)

‘An outrage’: Catalonia and the world reacts as separatist leaders handed jail terms (The Local.es)

Pic: AFP

Earlier today.

The moment Catalonia declared independence from Spain.

Further to this.

The Guardian reports:

Spain’s senate has granted the country’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, unprecedented powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia minutes after the region’s parliament voted to establish an independent republic on Friday afternoon.

Rajoy, who has vowed to stop the region becoming independent, is now expected to call a cabinet meeting to begin assuming control of the region and sacking its president, Carles Puigdemont.

On Friday afternoon, Catalan MPs voted for independence by a margin of 70 votes to 10. Two ballot papers were blank.

The result was greeted with jubilation by pro-independence MPs, who applauded and began singing the Catalan anthem, Els Segadors.

Spain imposes direct rule after Catalonia votes to declare independence (The Guardian)

Related: Beyond Catalonia: pro-independence movements in Europe (The Guardian)

Catalan Independence demonstration in Barcelona, Spain last night

Further to the Catalonian referendum brouhaha.

Spain-born Broadsheet reader ‘Nando’ writes:

I don’t recognise my country in the posts (here, here and here) you’ve published recently. Here are some points you may need..

1. Franco passed away 42 years ago, so, anyone under 42 has been raised in a democracy. Spanish democracy is not perfect but there are freedom of speech and so on.

2. There are not far-right parties in the Spanish congress, no Golden Dawn, no AfD, no UkIP, no National Front. We don’t have characters suchs as Farange or Le Pen. Far-right support is verry little.

3. Party in power is center right. They have opened close to a hundred causes for corruption and illegal funding. This might say little about their honesty, but also that they are not in politics for the ideology, they are in it for de money.

4. Along this 42 years, catalan nacionalism has become an issue only in last few years.

5. Since catalans have voted 47 times in the last 42 years they can’t hardly argue they are vote deprived. So happens with freedom of speech. We all know about their claims by now, don’t we?

6. Pro independency parties have never achieved more than a half of the votes. In the last regional elections Junts pel Si (Together for the Yes, no headaches in the branding) went to 39.6% in 2015. Similar figures were achieved in the last illegal referendum, even considering that guarantees were low, people could vote several times and underages were allowed to vote too.

7. What nation proposes “Junts pel Si” is just unkown. Asked about a Catalan army, center right members said of course, far-left says of course not, Catalonia will be a pacifist paradise. Half of them see Catalonia in the future as the mediterranean Switzerland, the other half as a socialist society.

8. Violence displayed on October 1 is just wrong. Though I can only condemn it, is important to notice that a fair amount of the images posted actually didn’t belong to this day’s clashes. One woman that claimed she had her fingers broken one by one and sexually assaulted by police has admitted only suffers an inflamation in one of her fingers and was never harassed. Hospital  staff have revealed they were instructed to file all the cases as casualties of the clashes, even people with nervous breakdowns suffered at their homes.

9. Some teachers have confirmed that general strike on October 3 was planned beforehand, no matter what might happen on the 1st, they were instructed to send the alumns to the streets and claim for independency. Some of them opposed and say are being ignored by peers now. Some teenagers were bullied by their teachers on October 2, told they would be asahmed of what their fathers, policemen, did.  Educational competencies fall under the Catalonian authorities. History taught is only Catalan History. You won’t be surprised that children know nothing about Don Quixote, as he belongs to the Spanish culture.

10. Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan parlament has said, those who don’t vote yes are not catalan. They are 60% of the Catalans though. On last sunday march a number close to 1 million people marched for unity in Barcelona. Catalan authorities have stated: there were no catalans marching. Once you don’t recognise as catalans those who oppose to your ideas is easy to get a majority.

11. This is not about innocent people claiming for their rights. Catalan people are above the average in wealth and rights. Claiming oppression would be an offense to all those who really suffer from it. This is not an story of good and bad people.

FIGHT!

Previously: I Am A Catalan

Mañana Belongs To me


Pro-unity activists at Saturday’s anti-Catalan independence march in Barcelona, Spain

Luke Ming Flanagan MEP writes:

Last week I got an email from Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso in which he asked me to “please look at ‘the bigger picture’ today”, every word emphasised but with ‘bigger picture’ picked out.

Ramón Luis is a member of the EPP – the same close-knit European Parliament family as Fine Gael – and is also a Vice-President of the Parliament, in which case you’d say he carries some clout.

Last week also, in Plenary, we heard Manfred Weber, the German MEP who heads up the EPP, and Commissioner Frans Timmermans – First Vice-President of the Commission and thus also an EU heavy hitter – both comment on events in Catalonia last weekend.

For all three, the ‘bigger picture’ is that the Catalan government were in conflict with Spain’s constitution, were thus putting themselves outside the ‘rule of law’ (that phrase came up again and again).

NONE of the three could bring themselves to condemn those who had created the situation whereby a militarised police force was brought into Catalonia to stop people from holding a peaceful vote (Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his ironically named People’s Party, part of the EPP)

NONE could bring themselves to condemn the subsequent violent assaults on peaceful citizens (authorised, obviously, by Rajoy and his government);

NONE could bring themselves to denounce and distance themselves from the subsequent announcements by Rajoy and his government – and by the King of Spain – that the actions taken were justified.

Oh, they said it couldn’t be condoned. But they couldn’t bring themselves to condemn Rajoy, his government, and his militarised police. If you DON’T condemn it, in the positions in which all those people hold, you condone it.

Why could they not bring themselves to condemn it? Because in their monolithic EU, run by the EPP and its like-minded friends, there is no room for dissent.

Protest is slowly but surely being made practically illegal, the police and justice systems increasingly politicised, peaceful protesters demonised by a compliant media as mere ‘populists’, or worse, as confrontational, contributing to their own assaults.

In this monolithic EU there is room only for their neoliberal global corporatist policies – austerity for the poor, rapidly increasing wealth for the few, all those in between set against each other and gradually ground down.

Watching the frightening and disgraceful scenes from Catalonia, let no-one in Ireland be complacent. Not alone can it happen here, it HAS happened here, and no, I’m not just speaking of the RUC and their antics over the decades across the border.

Think of the Shell to Sea campaign and the violence visited on the protesters there; think of the water-charge protesters and sometimes bloody scenes as peaceful protesters were attacked by Gardaí protecting the interests of a private company; think of the balaclava-covered black-clothed goons who have accompanied the Sheriff in various evictions around the country; think of our own militarised police wing, the platoons who stood by at the mass water-protests in Dublin.

Think of all the above, and ask yourself – where is all this headed?

Whether or not you believe Catalonia – or Scotland, or the Six Counties, or Roscommon for that matter – should be allowed have a referendum on its own independence isn’t the issue.

The issue is the growing crackdown on dissenting voices, the increasing officially-sanctioned violence, justified in the Catalonia situation by Commissioner Timmermans in his speech.

I’m telling you, my friends; with Mr Juncker’s White Paper, with the €5.5billion ‘Common Defence Fund’ announced by the Commission in July, geared towards the greater ambition of a powerful EU army, we’re on a very dangerous road.


I do NOT believe in all this centralised power; I do believe in devolution, in local governments making the decisions that affect local people
.

It’s time to pause, time perhaps even to turn back.

Visqui Catalunya!

Luke Ming Flanagan (Facebook)

Previously: Tony Groves: I Am A Catalan

Hmmm.

Meanwhile…

The Guardian reports:

Jordi Turull, the Catalan regional government spokesman, told reporters early on Monday morning that 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted Sunday chose yes.

He said nearly 8% of voters rejected independence and the rest of the ballots were blank or void. He said 15,000 votes were still being counted. The region has 5.3 million registered voters.

Catalan referendum: preliminary results show 90% in favour of independence (The Guardian)

Earlier: I Am A Catalan

Meanwhile…

Um.

Catalan referendum: Clashes as voters defy Madrid (BBC)