Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Dwarf, Jan 12, 2014.

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  1. Slow news at the moment as parties sort out lists and the situation switches between confused and slightly more confused.

    What the role of Puigdemont will be is speculative, especially as he may not lead the biggest party after the election. He may also have to return before the election, though I think the Sprouts will likely keep him there till after.
    I note that they expressed worries about his treatment so Madrid assured them that he would have a cell all by himself, all mod cons and so on. Very nice of them.

    Madrid keeps making veiled and not so veiled threats, though they seem to be saying that independence can be talked about after the election just don't cross a line. In other words back to what it was with no change, talk all you like it ain't gonna happen.

    A difference will be the loss of Prosecutor Maza to renal failure. Condolences to the family but not many tears shed here. The next Prosecutor will likely carry on the same lines but Maza was a hard-liner and also mates with the Justice Minister which raised questions about his impartiality.
    Maza was also a continuist in the best Spanish traditions which implies keeping the state together as it using traditional methods.

    On this line it's interesting to note with the traditional Spanish methods of dealing with the Catalan problem that over history the Generalitat has had 11 presidents either jailed or exiled and remains the only place in Europe to have had a president executed. (Companys.)

    The talk among politicians is that after this legislature it is unlikely that the unilateral path will be viable. So look for changes sought but UDI being put back. Depends on the situation 22/12.

    The middle ground parties such as Comuns are likely after the election to offer a front with the independence parties to demand some form of referendum, on this they appear to be firming up. If they don't campaign on this they will likely lose ground. So there is likely to be a largish majority in favour of some form of consultation/vote, though how Madrid will face that is conjecture.
    Most of the Police still remain here doing not a lot so perhaps that answers a question.

    Interesting that Urkullu the Basque leader who has recently said that he would like the Basque national identity to be recognised has come out to support the right to decide but is saying that it doesn't necessarily imply independence. He acknowledges that a significant section of Basque society would like a consultation.
    ”Y es necesario clarificar -añade-, que el derecho a decidir no es necesariamente el ejercicio de la independencia”, sino que es, a su juicio, “favorecer que los ciudadanos puedan ser consultados de manera pactada y con garantías para que se pueda reflejar lo que hayan decidido”.
    "It is necessary to clarify that the right to decide doesn't necessarily mean independence but allowing the citizens to be consulted in an agreed manner with guarantees that what they have decided will be reflected."

    So other pebbles are beginning to move.

    I notice that in @exbleeps part of the world that there was a big march for a renewed financial agreement with the state. He will know more about that than me.
    Another pebble.

    Finally an article in a German magazine stated what is blindingly obvious here that Rajoy has managed to keep the corruption scandals off people's minds and off the front pages. It says how the PP, or those behind them act as a mafia like system with the PP as a front.
    The Gurtel case is up for sentencing and the role of the PP with alternative accounts and signatures of a Mariano R for cash-filled envelopes just isn't being talked about much.

    The previous PP leader Aznar has talked privately about when Rajoy falls he will take a lot with him, and that after two mandates he should go. (Rajoy lead his party to two consecutive election defeats before becoming PM which in most countries would be cue to depart, but Spain is different.) It's a crying shame that this government gets so much support with so many unemployed and a similar number earning less than 1,000€ a month.
    Bloody disaster they are, and a big reason why many Catalans want away.
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  2. It's all gone quiet for sure. Everyone getting their breath back ready for the next round I think. I'm certainly confused by the thinking (or lack of it) on both sides
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  3. Really good article here, covers the state of Spanish democracy.

    It discusses the competence of the Audiencia Nacional in this area.It makes a valid point that the PP when they had a majority in parliament put in place a number of laws that restricted freedom and were essentially a return to the trditional Spanish way of doing things by limiting freedom. (That the PP worked to establish members of the Constitutional Court to make it far more conservative or reactionary and give it powers beyond its competence is not mentioned in detail but is a fact.)
    That the Constitution is in need of reform.
    That the Territorial question needs new ideas and paths.

    Healthy democracy with ailments

    Puigdemont questions the quality of the Spanish system to explain his refusal to submit to justice. The experts postulate the undoubted democratic condition of the State, but warn of growing deficits

    Expresident Carles Puigdemont, from his exile in Brussels, has promoted an international debate on the democratic deficits of Spain to support his refusal to submit to Spanish justice. Its limited success has been helped by the imprisonment of his advisors and by the re-appearance of old Orwellian clichés revived by the Anglo-Saxon political and journalistic world. But it also relies on the certainty that the 1978 system has suffered, for years, from fatigue. In order to address these symptoms, it has been decided to hide the cracks with increasing amounts of plaster, not to clean supporting beams and foundations or to design structural reinforcements.

    With the exception of the level of systemic corruption, in the international analyzes of democratic quality and government, Spain is in unequivocal positions of solvency. Corruption, however, operates like a leak on the wood of the frames. It rots. It is difficult to think that in a European country revelations such as Gürtel and Punic, which reach up to the Prime Minister and illustrate a structural modus operandi, will not cause a political cataclysm, or early elections, block resignations or a motion of censure. It has no visible effect on the façade, but it does have a visible effect on the skeleton, and this is how it emerges in the demonstration, which is why our perception of the separation of powers is much worse than that of international auditors or that the EU trusts more in our democratic institutions than the Spanish.

    In this context, the performance of all the state apparati against the disobedience of the Generalitat has involved a quality test of the system. "The Constitution is showing signs", proclaims Constitutional Law Professor Javier Pérez Royo: "This is a democratic State, but the deviation that is taking place with respect to the democratic standard is more than remarkable".

    None of the experts consulted question the democratic condition of Spain and some defend it with enthusiasm. In this sense, Constitutional Law Professor Francesc de Carreras, for example, points out: "The campaign on the poor quality of Spanish democracy lacks any serious foundation if, as should be done, it is compared with the rest of democracies and not with a non-existent ideal type that will always be unattainable. "

    But let's go bit by bit. Rights and freedoms. The Secretary of State for Digital Agenda, José María Lassalle, Doctor of Law and essayist specializing in political liberalism, argues that "we live, in Spain and in the rest of the democracies, an anguished circle of tolerance and respect for otherness . The marginal and heterodox is directed worse and worse and that affects the legislator, which is almost always responsible for transmitting the feelings /will of the majority ". This explains the impact that the Citizen Security Law, known as the gag law, which in addition to thousands of fines, has involved the imprisonment of musicians and puppeteers, the judicial persecution of humor and the harassment of journalists.

    Miguel Ángel Presno Linera, professor of Constitutional Law, emphasises this move towards authoritarianism: "It is undeniable that things have worsened in recent years: the Citizen Security Law is a sign of how it tries to discourage peaceful protests in the street by applying economic sanctions and introducing repressive mechanisms of dubious constitutionality ". That is, plaster over the problem. David Bravo, lawyer specialized in freedom of expression and digital society (and deputy of Podemos in Almería in the very brief XI legislature), maintains that "there is a clear tendency towards a restrictive interpretation of freedom of expression. There is on the part of the judges, and of the most reactionary sectors, who are encouraged by the interposition of various and absurd legal actions as soon as they become minimally annoying. " These cases "are not anecdote but category", says Pérez Royo opening the map. We are witnessing a response to the political earthquake expressed in the 15-M: "At the end of the tenth legislature, when the PP knows that it is over and that it will not repeat an absolute majority, there is a brutal legislative activity: reform of the law of Prosecution Criminal, Criminal Code, gag law, it is a repressive orgy, foreseeing that in a very divided parliament, it would be very difficult to recover the lost ground ".
    On the gag law, he stresses that it is "of a brutal repressive effectiveness because, by turning figures that were crimes in default, it displaces judicial control a posteriori, and gives the repressive power to the administration."
    Lassalle disagrees: "We continue to be a country that broadly respects liberties. There may be dysfunctionalities but they are occasional, never systemic. " And Bravo alerts of an agenda to establish limits to the freedom of expression in Internet different from those that operate for the norm, whose only justification is that "the practical filters that establishes the property of the media or the publicity that sustains them not apply to citizens who freely believe in the network. " And it coincides with Pérez Royo in that the reform of the Penal Code determines that today we see more causes for crimes of hate or exaltation than when ETA was active.

    Justice. The Catalan case has heated up the controversy surrounding the existence of the National Court, special jurisdiction court of the Public Order Court of the Franco regime. Lassalle believes that, both in this case and in the Constitutional Court, today arbiter of Spanish politics, "the most interesting debate on justice is how to preserve its independence from politics and society, without uprooting them ", And admits that" finding that balance point in the post-modern framework in which we live, seems almost impossible. Especially if justice is not also removed from, say, visibile fairness. " Pérez Royo is very hard: "The National Audience can only have expressly attributed jurisdiction/competences and can not make an extensive interpretation of them, but it is being used as an organ of convenience. The Attorney General of the State, in the charges against the counselors, devotes ten pages to justify the jurisdiction/competence of the Court. If you have to use ten pages, you do not have one. Full stop". It is an anomaly that "goes against the rule of law: it is unlawful, which is much worse than unconstitutionality." It would be reassuring, he adds, if the Supreme Court takes on the case.

    Constitution. Perez Royo's thesis that the Constitution became sterile in Catalonia after the ruling of the Statute is well known. "A law does not need acceptance to be applied, we see it with the gag law," but a Constitution does. "You can discuss if it's a penalty," he explains, "but not where the penalty comes from. The Constitution is indisputable, and because it is so, it allows everything else to be discussed. If you break this, you break the rules of the game. " This break, rather than the disobedience of the Generalitat, dates from 2010, when the Constitutional, at the request of the PP, amended the Catalan and Spanish parliaments and mutilated the 2006 Statute. With these consequences: "When there is no constitution there is disorder. And in a democratic society there can be no order without a constitution. In a dictatorship, yes. " That is why the Professor in 2007 titled "Coup d'État" an article on the change of majorities promoted by the PP in the TC with the protests against Pablo Pérez Tremps: "A coup strategy was followed" and the subsequent ruling against the Statute " It removed nationalism from the Constitution. "

    Lassalle agrees on the imperative of the acceptance of the norm of standards, but disagrees that it has disappeared: "There are aspects that are questioned and very intensely, but I do not believe that they invalidate the majority acceptance of the entire Constitution and the Statute." Presno thinks that the absence of reform is a serious democratic deficit: "It is a text that was good in the eighties, acceptable at the beginning of the nineties but that began to lag at the end of the century and show traces of rust in the last 15 years" . And the first thing is to change the procedure, since we are a more diverse political society. "The reform would have to begin with the procedure of constitutional review, to simplify it, to continue with a profound change of Congress and Senate and its relations with the Government, to take care of the territorial organization and not to forget that the scenario of citizens' rights, including his direct participation in public affairs is fundamental for any system that enjoys legitimacy. "

    Territorial problem. The State's response to Catalan disobedience has been as resounding as it has been discussed. Not invoking articles 116 (state of exception) or 155 (intervention of autonomy) in September, the repressive action (suspension of political acts, limits to freedom of expression, police deployment) did not have clear legal protection, denounced the deputy of the PNV Mikel Legarda. However, Francesc de Carreras does not doubt: "The Spanish authorities have treated the case in accordance with the strictest rules of the democratic State of law." Lassalle is a bit more cautious: "The balance is very fine. The crisis has been resolved, with undeniable criticism and tension, within a framework of democratic normality. " Presno is concerned about the lack of new ideas because "what could have been a solution for the territorial model in the late nineties or early twentieth century is likely to be no longer so, and the Catalan case illustrates it." And Perez Royo believes that the original cause - the ruling of the Statute - is difficult to reverse: "It destroyed and disqualified the TC as arbitrator" and the reform of 2015, which gave it executive functions, "was a constitutional fraud , and has dragged the judiciary to an area where it should not have intervened. " With the 21-D and a recentralizing twist in the making - "the threats of applying the 155 at the discretion or in the intervention of communities and municipalities" -, the professor does not dare to make a prediction: "Maybe we can get get out of this, but we are on the verge of a catastrophe. "
    • Informative Informative x 2
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  4. María Dolores de Cospedal, víctima de una broma en la que un falso ministro de Defensa letón le asegura que Puigdemont es un espía ruso apodado 'Cipollino'
    Puigdemont is 'Moscow Spy Cipollino': Russian Pranksters Troll Spain's Minister
    I myself spent 4 weeks in Catalonia this year and while my wife is a former KGB officer, I'm not related to Russian intelligence.
    As for Cipollino then
    Cipollino - Wikipedia
  5. There is a lot of interesting ideas here but from practical point of view the key event now is uncoming elections in Catalunya.
  6. The Judge in the Audiencia Nacional has agreed that the cases relating to independence should all be heard in the Supreme Court.
    Perhaps we will see a bit more common sense in the judgements now.
    It leaves a possibility for the prisoners to see light earlier and perhaps participate in the elections.
    Judge Lamela commented that she sees that there is an organised conspiracy including just about everybody including the Mossos to achieve Independence. Given the inept performances in the last stages of the Process of the Independence politicians I think she is maybe doing a Macarthy.

    Economy Minister Montoro gave Puigdemont a deadline to take up his pension as an ex-president. He declined.

    The PP seem to be waging a constant attack on the independence movement but some of the comments are simply ludicrous.
    While Soraya said that the Catalans have done more damage to Catalunya than anybody is actually a discussable point, (I think she's wrong because it was Madrid's actions that precipitated the damage,) people like Spokesman Hernandez come out with comments like "The independentistes wanted to destroy Spain and the EU".
    yet many Spanish swallow stuff like that.
    According to the latest soundings though the PP islosing a bit of ground but the Cs, whose tactics have been to sound harder than the PP have gained ground.
    We could actually have after elections a right wing coalition lead by Rajoy but dangling to Rivera's tune.

    Meanwhile the mantra of adoctrination in catalan schools is repeated in parliament and media, especially by the Cs whose leadership was actually brought up in those schools.

    Finally Spanish Justice seems to work fast when there is a political reason to do so. Yet the Ultras who irrupted into the Catalan Delegation in Madrid four years ago, despite being videoed have had their jail sentences put on hold pending appeals.

    Meanwhile it's sunny during the day, cold at night, and we need rain. According to Madrid it's the Independentistes fault.
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  7. Most, if not all the banners and posters here have quietly disappeared. The council is busy putting up their Chrismas lights and it's all peace and quiet at the moment. A couple of the more elderly citizens were wondering if they could have Puigdemont's pension as he didn't seem to want it..
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  8. Meanwhile, Puidgemont has called on the independents to vote as every vote will count. However ,as he intends staying in Belgium over that period, he forgot to register his vote as an overseas visitor and will be ineligible to vote even though he was reminded about it just days before.
    Of course, it depends on which paper you read and who you listen to to get your point of view. Rajoy, not the most popular of leaders in Spain, is now getting vastly improved approval ratings throughout the rest of Spain because of this.
    Madrid has already said it is paving the way for Catalonia to be given the power to collect and manage its own taxes, similar to the system enjoyed by the autonomous Basque country which is, after all, what all this is about.
    It would still have to pay into the central system, like all regions do, to pay for defence, border controls and so on but could keep more of the money than they do now.
    Even some pro-independence groups and parties (ERC being one) are now saying they didn't actually want independence and Puigdemont himself has said there are other options to calling it.
    But interest in the subject is definitely waning with the press and TV back to normal and Catalonia seems to be getting pushed further and further down the page except in papers like La Vanguardia. I had to go to page 10 of our local paper before even getting to the bit about Puigdemont missing the deadline for the vote and there was not mention at all in the Valencia International.
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  9. Yep, for Rajoy job jobbed, what about Gurtel etc? Nary a whisper and more votes in his pocket.
    What I read was that Cs have picked up a lot of what he hoped to get and are gaining ground on him.
    ERC etc. are saying more that Independence has to go on the back burner because of 155. If they come out and say that they still want full Independence then they will either not be allowed out of jug or get hit by another round of 155.
    Puigdemont is saying that for the time being other options are available, and by this I think he means what Urkullu was saying that they want their national identity recognised, the federal path.

    That would work for now, your own footie team, an adjusted finance, and the idea of being a country albeit wiithin a state. A lot of people would settle for that right now.
    But I can't see the Spanish being happy with that, their idea of a nation being different to the Brits' idea. Neither will the people behind the throne want the Catalans to get any reward as they see it.

    Now Madrid is offering a new finacial package, if they had done that way back before Puigdemont perhaps we would be negotiating things now instead of what has happened.
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  10. Still seems very quiet and at least half the police shipped in have been withdrawn.
    Puigdemont gave an interview with a (I think) Swiss paper saying he was not happy with the EU and would give Catalonia a referendum on leaving. The very next day he withdrew that and said Catalonia's future was in the EU and they were all good Europeans.
    Ciudadanos (or Ciutadans in Catalunya) the Citizens Party appear to be doing well in the polls and their leader reckons that, if elected, she'll have to spend a long time unravelling the "mess" others have got them into.
    (She can unravel my mess any time she likes)

    Those still under arrest in prison have petitioned the Supreme Court to be released and have promised to abide by Article 155 if they are.
    Mossos (the Catalan police) have been giving evidence to Catalan judges that their bosses prevented them from stopping the referendum by not providing sufficient equipment and that, when they asked for support, it was refused. They have been accused of not carrying out their orders but are pointing at the high command for not supporting them in stopping the vote.

    Not much going on at all. Just over 3 weeks to go for the elections.
  11. Does anyone know if people in prison, or in self imposed exile are eligible to stand ?
  12. Think we covered that earlier, unless convicted I don't think they can be stopped from standing and even though Puigdemont and his mates are in Belgium they can still be nominated as candidates.
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  13. Thanks, there's been so much good stuff posted over the past few weeks it's hard to remember all the details.
  14. I only remember because someone else mentioned it and I went digging to see if I could find an answer.
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  15. If you have Arimades along to unravel your mess you will probably be given a ten minute lecture about which position you have to adopt and what you are going to do afterwards. Most of it won't be relevant or repeated and for all she's attractive enough for a poster you'll probably fall asleep along with your willie.

    What are the sources for that about the Mossos? It's just it doesn't quite click with what my Mosso mates say and the stance of the local Mossos on the day.