In an institutional statement today, the president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, announced that “once the budget has been approved in Parliament, I will announce an election date [because] this legislature has run its course politically and no government can function without unity, a shared strategy on key issues, and loyalty between its members”.
The head of the executive stressed that the election “should serve to reaffirm the democratic mandate of a nation that wants democracy, justice and freedom. We need to make progress towards fulfilling the mandate of the First of October referendum – towards the goal of independence – and regain a sense of unity”.
“It’s essential to let citizens have their say again in order to renew the political mandate of 21 December 2017,” the president said. “I want a country that’s radically democratic, where governments and parliaments operate based on majorities and relationships of trust, and where, when these elements are lacking, it’s always our citizens who determine the new majorities and renewed relationships of trust.”
The president called for a “return to the path of unity, joint strategies and shared struggles”, which he said had been “shattered by decisions made without reaching a consensus and without even informing those affected”, citing the decision of the speaker of the Catalan Parliament to “leave the president of the Government of Catalonia out in the cold”. Torra said his removal from office as a deputy of the Catalan parliament was an “express and completely irregular” manoeuvre that “puts the Government of Catalonia permanently at risk”.
The president said it was time to act “with the utmost responsibility” and “put Catalonia’s needs ahead of any partisan or personal interests [so that] Catalans have a government that represents them faithfully and does not falter when faced with the attacks of a state that continues to act in an authoritarian and repressive manner”. Torra said that the Office of the Presidency had “struggled and persevered” to maintain “strategic unity”, especially when it came to formulating a joint response to the ruling of the Supreme Court. “It won’t be me – it won’t be this president or the political space I belong to – that breaks the unity of the Catalan government, because it’s the only way we can gain our freedom,” he said.
In reference to the Government of Catalonia’s budget for 2020, which will be approved by the Executive Council this afternoon, the president said: “Now that we’ve reached an agreement to approve the budget in Parliament, the process should continue to move forward.” The President stressed the importance of passing the budget: “Catalonia and its people need us to approve a budget that will contribute to tackling many social deficiencies and meeting many urgent needs.”
Meeting with Pedro Sánchez
The head of the government also made reference to his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, scheduled for 6 February. “I want to see whether the Spanish government intends to put an end to repression and guarantee respect for fundamental democratic principles.” Torra pointed out that the approach to the meeting had been agreed by pro-independence forces and said he had a responsibility to determine whether the Spanish government is committed to engaging in “real negotiations” that “address the political conflict Catalonia faces as a result of the Spanish state’s refusal to allow the full exercise of democracy and our right to self-determination”.