Disobedience: Catalonia's ex-president convicted

Artur Mas, the former Catalan president, has been banned from holding public office for two years. A court in Barcelona convicted him of defying the constitutional court by organising a referendum on the region's independence from Spain in 2014. Spanish commentators see the judgement as unconstructive for various reasons.

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El Mundo (ES) /

Sentence far too lenient

The lenient sentence is practically an invitation to further disobedience, El Mundo fears:

“Catalonia's Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent with its ruling on the referendum on independence held on 9 November 2014. The judges have banned Artur Mas, Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega from holding public office for disobeying the orders of the constitutional court. But at the same time they ruled that the actions of the ex-president of Catalonia and his ministers did not constitute an abuse of office, of which they were also accused. So something as serious as holding an independence referendum in violation of Spanish law and disobeying the constitutional court is punished merely with a ban on holding public office. … In our opinion this is a very lenient sentence for the defendants considering the serious nature of the offences of which they were found guilty.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Judgements won't solve the dilemma

The row between Catalonia and the central government in Madrid can only be resolved politically, La Vanguardia warns:

“The situation in Catalonia is very confused and there is only one way out: political negotiations. As indicated in a recent report by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which has close ties to Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, the Catalonia question can't be resolved by judges and police. The elections in several EU countries will create a new context - hopefully constructive - in which the Catalonia issue can be resolved. There is no social majority in favour of separating from Spain, but reaching a political deal is more vital than ever. Finding the way out of the labyrinth, which will require time, patience and skill, should lead to the complete restitution of the rights of the convicted politicians.”