The Council of the Republic will become a reality on 30th October and its society debut will take place in the Catalan government palace's Saint George room, the most noble space, used for important events. After months of negotiation and moments of high tension in which it seemed like the disagreements between the two government partners were going to derail things, the Council of the Republic is getting going with an agreement reached on Friday which allowed for the parties (Junts per Catalunya, ERC, PDeCAT and Demòcrates) and organisations (ANC, Òmnium, the Association of Municipalities for Independence and the Catalan Association of Municipalities) to be called this Monday to Waterloo under the presidency of Carles Puigdemont and with the attendance of the ministers in exile resident in Belgium and also president Quim Torra.
The Council of the Republic is the cornerstone in the political architecture of the independence movement designed after the dissolution of the institutions of self-government by article 155 and following the pro-independence electoral victory on 21st December. Puigdemont will chair it and minister Toni Comín, who has had a very notable, persistent role, to the exhaustion of some leaders of his own party, will manage it. Thus ensured is Esquerra Republicana's partisan coverage (JuntsxCat's was already) in a body which should be collegial and multi-party in nature. In this first phase, it will be formed by the members of the government in exile, but should very quickly bring in the secretary general of Esquerra Republicana, Marta Rovira, exiled in Brussels. Originally, this founding core was also to count with the presence of former CUP deputy Anna Gabriel, but the distance she is keeping now introduces serious reasons for doubt, despite one of her organisations, Poble Lliure, having welcomed the Council and asked it to be attentive to what it could mean for the construction of the Catalan Republic.
Like all newly-created bodies, it runs the risk of raising great expectations which it later doesn't meet. It is born, however, as a space for debate without limits and with the ability to take decisions which are doubtlessly much more difficult to carry out with a government in the autonomous community in many aspects practically placed in administration and with a Parliament which is moving cautiously. If good synchrony is achieved, the Council of the Republic could be anything from a salutary lesson to a catalyst for political initiatives. Its success or failure will be measured based on the consistency of their objectives.
Also, whether the government as a whole, in other words the two parties, allow it a navigational chart which may sometimes interfere with its activity. In any case, this Monday's meeting in Waterloo between so many different actors has again allowed the need for wide, cross-spectrum debate forums to be highlighted. And confirming sometimes it's easier to agree on a shared strategy with many in the debate rather than just a few.