Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Catalonia has a government again

Six months ago, in the wake of their violent repression of an independence referendum, the Spanish government dissolved Catalonia's regional government and forced new elections. Despite arresting several candidates and banning the colour yellow, their local quislings lost (apparently beating people in the streets does not make them like you. Who knew?), and since then Spain has been trying to stop the elected majority from forming a government. The obvious candidates were in prison or exile, and Spain refused to release them, despite a ruling from the UN Human Rights Council. An alternative candidate was arrested and charged with "rebellion" on the eve of the vote, and it seemed like Spain was trying to run out the clock and force Catalans to vote again until they got it right. But when the Catalan Parliament suggested a new pro-independence candidate, they were not arrested (maybe Madrid can read the polls after all), and so Catalonia finally has a regional government again:

The Catalan parliament has narrowly elected a hardline secessionist as president, presaging the end of 199 days of direct rule from Madrid.

Quim Torra, an uncompromisingly pro-independence MP who joined parliament six months ago, was elected by 66 votes to 65.

He is the first candidate to be approved by the body since Carles Puigdemont’s administration was sacked seven months ago, when the Spanish government used the constitution to assume control of Catalonia and call last December’s regional election.

The Madrid government has said it will cease using article 155 of the constitution – which had never been invoked until last year – when a new Catalan government was in place.

Which means Catalans will get back control of their government, and stop being treated like an internal colony of Madrid.

Spain's policy of thuggery and brutality has clearly failed. It hasn't persuaded anyone to abandon independence - not the politicians they have in jail or the ones who belong to pro-independence parties, let alone the majority of Catalans who vote for them. The question is whether Spain will recognise this and try talking, or whether they'll continue to try and use force and alienate even more people.