King Felipe VI has been reprimanded by the Catalan Parliament, which at the same time voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and affirmed its commitment to republican values. In an unprecedented vote on Thursday, arising from the exceptional situation generated by the monarchy's repeated taking of sides against decisions reached by the parliament and government of Catalonia, the two largest pro-independence parliamentary groups Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and the Republican Left (ERC), along with the non-aligned left-wing 'Commons' group, gave the king a reprimand. The four deputies of the other pro-independence group, the CUP, did not vote in favour for other reasons indirectly related to the resolution, but their votes must also be counted, in terms of their political rejection of the monarchy. Meanwhile, against the resolution, that is, in support of the king, were 57 members of parliament out of the 135 in the Catalan chamber, 42% of the total, consisting of the three unionist groups Ciudadanos, PSC and PP.
The Spanish monarch thus becomes the first king in Western Europe to have his behaviour condemned by a legislative chamber, in a move that was effectively supported by 58% of the representatives of the Catalan people. It is no minor development, although the weight of other important news that Catalan politics generates may help to camouflage it. In any case, the announcement by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez that he intends to take legal measures against the Catalan Parliament in defence of the head of state already underlines the severity of the blow. And the magnitude of the breach that has been opened, which this time cannot be attributed exclusively to the pro-independence parties: the deputies of the Commons group were not just among the supporters of the resolution, but in fact were the ones who proposed it. Coincidentally, they belong to the same parliamentary group as those who were on the TV news all day long, co-starring beside Sánchez in the solemn agreement between PSOE and Podemos to try to pass Spain's annual budget.
It does not cease to be ironic that the week which began with Spanish politicians rubbing their hands with glee over the ruptured pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament, ended just ninety-six hours later with new evidence of the persistence of the conflict between Catalonia and Spain, the point being made via a severe blow received directly by the head of state. Much more than palliative measures will be needed by the Spanish government to come back to reality. And much more realism. Denying reality, maintaining the repression and judicialising everything may lengthen the conflict but cannot solve it. And with quotes as hilarious as that offered by vice president Carmen Calvo on Friday, assuring on Catalan radio that in Scotland no negotiated referendum on independence took place, they could win a prize for ignorance. Not one for demonstrating problem-solving abilities.