Separatist election manifestos to rule out unilateral Catalan independence

Carles Puigdemont (l) and ERC's Oriol Junqueras last month.
Carles Puigdemont (l) and ERC's Oriol Junqueras last month. / REUTERS
  • The Supreme Court may assume control of all the ongoing investigations into Catalan officials for alleged sedition to ensure consistency

The two main pro-independence groups taking part in regional elections planned for Catalonia on 21 December have ruled out including a policy of unilateral independence in their forthcoming election programmes.

Junts per Catalunya and ERC are to say that they will seek a separate Catalan state through negotiation with the Spanish government. It marks a turnaround from the previous policy when they were in power together in coalition until last month and led the region's parliament to declare unilateral independence (UDI).

Commentators say that international rejection of a proposed Catalan republic, especially by the European Union, and a flight of companies from Catalonia to the rest of Spain have forced them to reconsider. The EU is worried that an independent Catalonia would encourage other regions of Europe to declare independence.

The two groups hope that the softer tone will encourage Catalan voters to back them so they secure a majority of regional MPs in the December vote.

The more radical separatist CUP party will keep its UDI policy.

Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, said this week that his government would work with whoever won the regional election providing the new administration “governed and respected the law and minorities.” Rajoy called elections after suspending some of Catalonia's self rule last month.

Supreme Court move

Meanwhile, in Madrid, as predicted a Supreme Court judge has moved to combine the cases of the different Catalan public officials who are being investigated for sedition during the recent declaration of independence process. Some ex-regional ministers are still in jail without bail in a case run by the lower Audiencia Nacional court, while parliamentary officials are still free in a similar case led by the Supreme Court. Judges want to combine the cases to ensure consistency in judicial decisions, which would open the door to the government members still in jail to possibly be released ahead of the December vote if they agree to abide by the Constitution.

Former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, is still in Brussels awaiting possible extradition and will head the electoral list of Junts per Catalunya, a new electoral group including his PDeCAT party.