From the day of his inauguration as president of the Generalitat two weeks ago, Pere Aragonès has spoken insistently about “Shake up” politics in Catalonia during this legislature to open a new stage to overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic and address the resolution of the Catalan conflict. You have four years to check your results. The pardons, on the other hand, without knowing what the definitive resolution of the Government will be, have already managed to overturn the Catalan political board. To the point that two antagonistic organizations during the ‘procés’ such as the independentista ANC and the constitutionalist Catalan Civil Society (SCC) they exhibit matching postures.
They use different reasons, but both entities They have positioned themselves against the measures of grace to the prisoners of the ‘procés’, hinted by the central Executive. “Impunity is not the solution, the conditions for its concession are not in place,” says SCC President Fernando Sánchez Costa. Elisenda Paluzie, from the ANC, rejects the pardons because in her opinion they may be a “smart” political decision of the central government against the independence movement, as they could disarm the sovereignist movement and cause it “disastrous” effects in the international battle to add complicities.
In the Parliament, this shock is evident. The still photo of the Catalan Chamber that has visualized the division into two halves of society during the years of the independence challenge has moved. In the debate on the grace measures, the Parliament is no longer divided into two halves as it has been up to now. Regarding pardons, the Catalan parties (PSC, ERC, Junts, common and CUP) are in favor, which they account for 85% of the seats, and against are Vox, Ciudadanos and the PP. This movement could facilitate future alliances of ERC with the commons and the PSC, for example, in the regional budgets.
Constitutionalism, in this way, has been broken. This rupture was staged this week in a ceremony held by SCC in Barcelona on pardons. During the ‘procés’, the non-sovereignist forces maintained a certain strategic unity, which has been thrown into the air as soon as the possibility of release secessionist leaders convicted of sedition. Astrid Barrio, president of the Democratic League, was one of the petitioners for pardons. He is radically against the ‘procés’ and the dialogue table between the Government and the Government. But he believes that the grace measures can serve to open a new stage, as an argument for “public utility.” That is “surrender voluntarism,” replied Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, of the PP, at the SCC act. “The pardons will be a condemnation for Catalonia, which will continue in the identity loop,” said the PP exporter. “There will be resources and we will be the same again,” said Pere Lluís Huguet, from Ciudadanos. Joaquim Coll, former vice president of SCC, on the other hand, said that prison releases can be convenient and useful. “They are a gesture of relaxation, they do not solve the problem, but they open a door, you have to try,” he confided.
Those who oppose pardons from constitutionalism argue that the prisoners have not regretted anything and will do so again as soon as they can. In the short and medium term, it seems unlikely. The CUP is no longer pressing as in the past, despite the fact that on paper it demands a new “onslaught” against the State in the form of a referendum before 2023, and Aragonès has taken command with the will to endure. ERC has returned 40 years later to the presidency and wants to consolidate the president several legislatures. And that is only possible if you stick to the law.
Government sources also assure that the Catalan legislature that has just started will focus almost exclusively on crisis management and day-to-day. If Torra insisted that he had not reached the presidency to manage autonomy, in the current Government at the moment it is quite the opposite, beyond the identity rhetoric and the fact that Aragonès insists daily that it has to be start solving the Catalan lawsuit with amnesty and self-determination. As an example of change, in the campaign, Laura Borràs, head of the Junts list and now president of the Parliament, affirmed that with an absolute majority, secessionism should reactivate the declaration of independence. Now, instead, he places the secession at 10 years ahead. Junqueras speaks of 10 to 20 years.
Sovereign sources discard, meanwhile, gestures by the independentistas, if in the end they end up granting pardons. And the fact is that the grace measures, as in constitutionalism, have opened up the secessionist world. The most radical groups are opposed, such as the ANC, because they fear that they will weaken the movement internationally and demobilize the street. Former councilor Clara Ponsatí, who fled with Puigdemont, believes that they could imply resignations by the independentistas, so claim the path of exile. Media close to former President Puigdemont have already warned that the only path that is not one of surrender is that of exile. Those who attack pardons from nationalism admit that it is a move in favor of the State in the face of the independence cause on the international legal front and that it will empty the dialogue table between the two governments of content.