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Law of Transitional Jurisprudence approved, boycotted by pro-union parties

It started at nine in the morning on Thursday. The proposed Law of Transitional Jurisprudence and Foundation of the Republic was passed ten minutes before one in the morning this Friday with the votes in favour of JxSí (Together for Yes) and CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy) and 10 votes against from CSQP (Catalonia Yes We Can). When the vote on the proposed amendments started, the deputies of Ciutadans (Citizens), PSC (Socialists' Party of Catalonia) and PP (Popular Party) stood up and left the plenary assembly.

This ended a long and complicated day of push and pull between the pro-independence deputies and the opposition which lead to repeated meetings of the Board of the Parliament, interruptions to the plenary assembly and brimming tensions.

In defence of Forcadell

In the name of JxSí, deputy Jordi Orobitg started his remarks thanking the Parliament's president, Carme Forcadell, for her management of the plenary session and denouncing the "disdain for her being a woman that was denounced yesterday by other spokespeople", which caused an enthusiastic ovation from CUP's seats.

The deputy summarised the guarantees and promises in the law and reiterated the willingness to negotiate with the Spanish state. Orobitg said that the bill came from collective hope and generosity. "Catalonia and all the Catalans are worthy of this opportunity", he said before ending his remarks with "Visca Catalunya lliure" ("Long live free Catalonia").

Multiple identities

CUP deputy Benet Salellas denied that "ever" has there been a ethnicist or identitary discourse to defend the independence process. "In this country people have multiple identities, identities that go beyond flags," he said.

He warned that "we can't exercise sovereignty from the condition of an autonomous community"; he called for overcoming the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and defended that, if Catalonia is considered a political subject, it has right to decide over its sovereignty. "This isn't a conflict of Spanish and Catalan law. It's a debate between an established power and a power that is constructed from below and looks to argue power from the street," he said, presenting the proposed law as an attempt to end with the post-Franco system. He ended quoting murdered president of Chile Salvador Allende: "History is ours and people make history, let's make ours".

Burnt bridges

The leader of the Ciudadanos opposition, Inés Arrimadas, started her speech noting that the Constitutional Court had suspended the Referendum Law the Parliament had passed the previous day "as they will surely do with the document we're debating now". He highlighted that the pro-independence groups have managed to "unite the opposition", "we've agreed on something, and it's that you have trampled over the rights of the deputies".

"Many of you don't believe the lies that have been told these last months. Be brave please. We're putting the self-governance of Catalonia in danger," warned Arrimadas. She ended with another warning calling on a couple of Spanish idioms "you've burnt all the boats, you've broken all the bridges, and you'll be the only ones that won't take part in the solution."

Argument over time

PSC's Miquel Iceta repeated that the referendum will not happen, that there will be no new republic and that this law will end up in the waste paper basket of legal initiatives. He listed the chapters and titles which he said contravene the Statute of Autonomy and the Constitution and warned that "if by absolute majority you change rules that can only be changed by a two thirds majority, you break the rules".

He also had a moment of tension with the president of the Parliament. When Forcadell warned him that he was running over his allocated two minutes, Iceta stopped his speech in mid-flow and complained about the little time the president had given his party "recently".


The president of PP in Catalonia, Xavier Garcia Albiol, accused the president, Carles Puigdemont, of driving a bill that would embarrass "any decent person". "In no 21st century parliament has there been behaviour as antidemocratic and as totalitarian as you have done," criticised Albiol, who accused the independence supports of making the chamber into a "circus".

The PP politician accused JxSí and CUP of offering "rupture, division, hate, conflict and affronts", predicted that they won't break up Spain and will receive a "forceful response" from the Spanish state. Before finishing, Albiol directly addressed the opposition: "The thing that unites us the most is the fight against the great challenge we have in front of us. That demands a response from us that rises to the occasion. That's what the moment requires".

48 black hours

CSQP spokesperson, Joan Coscubiela, who described the last two days of debate as "48 black hours of the Parliament" and a "historic error", criticised the independence parties for having ceded the "flag of democracy" to the PP party in power in Madrid. "Can we know what objective you had to pull out all the stops for an objective as Pyrrhic as wet paper?"

The deputy gave a whole list of question about specific points of the law, sarcastically using a question from ERC (Catalan Republican Left) politician Gabriel Rufián: "The objectives are legitimate, but it's not legitimate to cheat the people". He also delved into the supposed differences within the JxSí group, suggesting that some members express reticence on certain issues even when not asked.

The independent deputy, Germà Gordó, admitted that the proposed law raised doubts, but said that he would vote in favour because it contained goals to work towards.

[Font: Par Marta Lasalas, El Nacional, Barcelona, 08Sep17]

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