The Catalan people has voted for the restoration of Carles Puigdemont to the presidency of Catalonia. You can say it louder or quieter, you can want to read that or not, you can even want to make it reality or not. But in a democratic country, there's no reading after an election greater than what the public wanted. In the largest turnout for a poll ever recorded in Catalonia or Spain, practically 82% of eligible voters, the message was clear and strong and has repeated the pro-independence absolute majority in the Parliament.
With everything against it, without any political power and with the Catalan government closed, with its leaders in exile or in prison, with cases open to legally pursue, albeit unjustly, dozens and dozens of people, with all the media controlled under an iron yoke by their creeping economic crisis, political Catalan nationalism has been able to find at the urns the energy it needed to be reborn from the ashes and stay faithful to its history: the decisions which affect Catalonia aren't taken in Madrid. They're taken in the Palau de la Generalitat, the government palace, and in the Parc de la Ciutadella, the seat of popular sovereignty.
The independence movement has inflicted on Mariano Rajoy the worst defeat of his political career and presents itself with new credentials in Europe and in Brussels before those governments who closed ranks with the Spanish prime minister. Who knows whether this Thursday evening, 21st December, has seen the beginning of the end of a political career which started in 1982 as director general of institutional relationships of the government of Galicia. With his acts over the last few months, moreover, he has seriously compromised king Felipe VI and the monarchy making them adopt decisions improper for the head of a state like Spain and bringing him into direction confrontation with an important portion of the Catalan people.
Ciutadans won the election, certainly, but that headline lasts for 24 hours. Too little in the face of the feat achieved by the pro-independence side. The article 155 parties emerge exhausted from their date with the ballot boxes having received a historic blow. One of those that isn't forgotten over time. The people of Catalonia have spoken: now it remains to be seen whether Madrid, for once, will know how to read the results astutely or whether it will continue on its path of judicialising Catalan politics. Catalonia has shown that force isn't enough to subdue it and that it wants to decide its future. That you don't gamble with its dignity in the offices of the Moncloa government palace in Madrid and that its resilience is almost unlimited. That it's not ready to betray a millennium of history as others have done in the past and that it isn't for sale for a plate of beans. That a new generation of Catalans doesn't want to return to political poverty and that model of autonomy in which it can decide nothing and there isn't money to manage anything with a minimum of dignity.
If Pedro Sánchez had political courage and the bravery befitting of a leader which he seems to lack, today, without waiting a moment longer, he would present a motion of no confidence in the Spanish prime minister for the international embarrassment which he has subjected Spain to on this election day. With the result after this 21st December, the jokes about a silent Catalonia where no one knows what it thinks are over. With 47.5% of the votes in favour of pro-independence parties, 4.1 points more than for unionist parties, now we know who has a majority and who doesn't.
Institutional legitimacy and historical continuity have been assured with this result. It's not a time for rows within the independence movement. Puigdemont has to head the new government and carry the baton to take the necessary steps to assemble the new executive, which has to be split with ERC, the party which had everything in its favour to lead the pro-independence space and which has seen the president's list pass it. Never had the leadership of someone like Oriol Junqueras been so missing from a party like ERC, which the vice-president had tailored to himself. Parties are prone to dealing out blame when the results aren't what they'd hoped for and it's normal for that to happen. But the analysis made by PSC, PP and Catalunya En Comú, great losers on the day, cannot be the same as ERC's. It would be very unfair. A campaign with Junqueras in prison was much more difficult than it seemed for ERC, since the profusion of leaders wasn't enough to reach those parts of the electorate which, from his party, only the vice-president can reach, something he hasn't been able to do from his cell in Estremera.
Today Catalonia has written a shining page in its history. Against everyone and with only the support of the Catalans. History repeats itself. Good night and good luck.