Catalonian election: separatists seek confrontation
The Catalans will elect a new regional parliament on Sunday. Now the parties that advocate independence for Catalonia have signed a joint manifesto affirming that they will not form a coalition with the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). The latter, however, not only govern in Madrid but are also leading the polls in Catalonia. Even separatist commentators shake their heads in dismay.
What will Europe think of us?
La Vanguardia editor-in-chief Jordi Juan sees the manifesto as a serious mistake:
“I'm just imagining the reaction of public opinion in Europe when they see that the Catalan parties are distancing themselves in this way from the majority party in Spain and the second most important party in the European Parliament. Normally, this kind of red line is drawn vis-à-vis far-right or xenophobic parties. In Catalonia, however, they are trying to block the very party with which they will have to negotiate at some point because it governs Spain. ... Can you imagine the indignant outcry of the separatists if the constitutionalists [the parties that oppose Catalonia's secession] were to sign a similar manifesto blocking their access to government?”
Miracles to happen and pigs will fly
The fact that parties are actually signing their election promises now is a lamentable indictment, the separatist online magazine elnacional.cat says:
“Apparently a signature lends the matter in hand more credibility. But this ignores all those supposedly unshakeable agreements which a hamster's cough was enough to blow away. In any case, signing a document like this shows that the spoken word no longer has any value - and even less so in an election campaign. For days, the pro-independence parties, especially the [left-wing separatist] ERC, have been assuring us that they want nothing to do with the Socialists. ... The only problem is that they know that we know that electoral promises, including the party programme, are about as reliable as Samuel Umtiti's [often injured FC Barcelona player] physical fitness.”
May the bridge builders prevail
Writing in Le Soir, former Catalonian MEP Ignasi Guardans hopes that support from outside Catalonia won't make matters even worse:
“An important factor in these elections is to see who is proposing a generous dialogue and respecting the law (with the legitimate will to review and change it). Who is building bridges, and who prefers 'confrontation', constant clashes, all or nothing, in short populism. ... The friends of Catalonia and Spain in Europe can get involved any time they want to if they sympathise with our cause or struggles. But there's one thing we must demand as democrats: don't support arsonists. Because the future of Catalonia can never be based on confrontation.”