In an interview today on TV3 (the Catalan public broadcaster), the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said: “The Supreme Court judgement marks a turning point. It’s time to make decisions and put forward proposals.” The head of the executive was speaking hours after appearing before the Catalan parliament, where he made “a proposal on how to exercise Catalonia’s right to self-determination as soon as possible”. The head of the executive said appearing before Parliament was his duty as president and something the people expect of the government. “When we see all these mobilised people, we have to step up, whatever the consequences,” he said.
On the subject of the proposal he made in Parliament, the president said: “We’ll have to discuss it with the other parties and organisations with whom we agreed to work towards a broad national agreement.” Torra said the initiative should be seen as an opportunity. “I think I have the strength to move forward in exercising Catalonia’s right to self-determination [because] it’s the mandate I have.” The president added that he “defers only to what the people of Catalonia decide”.
In reference to the judgement in the 2017 referendum trial, the president said: “We can’t accept a judgement that should never have been written” because to do so “would mean accepting that we’re not in favour of Catalonia’s right to decide”. Torra also said the Supreme Court decision “violates fundamental rights” and establishes “a precedent for all Catalan and Spanish citizens”.
In response to threats from the Spanish state, the president stressed the importance of “pressing ahead” and “facing down fear”, which he said should not be allowed to hold back the Catalan political project. “It’s clear that the electoral campaign of the Article 155 coalition is to apply Article 155 [i.e. to suspend Catalan self-rule], but that can’t stop us, especially not now, when we need to respond to the Supreme Court judgement.”
In response to a question about the situation of the government following the judgement, the head of the executive said: “The last thing we can afford to do is go to elections.” According to the president, “everyone accepts that now is the time to strengthen our institutions”, which must be “strong and unfaltering so we can keep moving forward”.
The president expressed confidence that a budget would be approved. “I think the time has come to put the country before parties,” he said, adding that he thought he had gone as far as he could in acting as a supra-partisan leader. “I think that’s the tone the president of the government of Catalonia should adopt.”
Addressing the unrest in Catalonia in recent days, Torra called for calm and said there must be no more violent incidents. “Violence isn’t what we’re about, and it’s never been what the independence movement is about.” On the subject of questions raised about police conduct, the president said he had seen images he did not like. “In all cases where protocols have been violated, the incidents in question will be investigated and decisions will be taken accordingly.” At the same time, President Torra said he stands by the Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police force) and pointed out that they have a twofold mission: “to maintain security and to ensure the right to protest”.