The two Catalan pro-independence political parties represented in Spain's Congress of Deputies, the Republican Left (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat), have presented a complaint to the electoral commission for the Barcelona province which aims to suspend the planned visit by Spanish monarch Felipe VI and members of his family, who are due to take part in the awarding of the Princesa de Girona prizes, until after the upcoming election on November 10th. The initiative has little or no chance of prospering, but is based on a solid argument: the visit could influence the decisions of voters, given the monarch's abandonment of his constitutional role in the speech of October 3rd, 2017; as a result, his objectivity is not guaranteed and may influence the mobilization of the constitutionalist vote.
The electoral commission will find its way of blocking the pro-independence groups' initiative, but the promoters of the resolution must be given credit for its originality, because it is undeniable, in light of recent speeches, that the neutrality required of the head of state has long since fallen into oblivion. The truth is that, even though there have been many elections lately, there are more than enough dates free so that one could be chosen which does not coincide with an election campaign which lasts for only seven days.
This, in addition to a truly anomalous situation, that fact that the Princesa de Girona prizes have been on a walkabout across Catalan territory for the last two years. The refusal of the Girona city council to allow the ceremony to take place in a municipally-owned venue in 2018 meant that they were moved to Mas Marroch, the gastronomic and leisure space belonging to well-known chefs the Roca brothers in Vilablareix. The institutional snub that this situation implied for the royal family has this year brought them to Barcelona, which is itself an anomaly when the actual name of the prizes is taken into account. In all this time there has been no meeting of the foundation in Girona, motions against the monarchy have been approved in hundreds of Catalan municipalities, the Catalan government has broken off relations with the Spanish royal house and its Parliament has reprehended Felipe VI and called for the abolition of the monarchy. The distance has been getting even wider lately.
This Monday's visit does not seem to be different from the last, since several protests have been called to prevent or hinder the holding of the event at the Palau de Congresos on Avinguda Diagonal and to express the rejection of the Supreme Court court verdict against the Catalan political prisoners. The way that controversy has become the norm for all Spanish royal visits to Catalonia is a terrible international calling card for the monarchy and is also an element that differentiates this state from other countries in our European neighbourhood. That is why it is not surprising that Catalans give the monarchy an approval rating of less than 2 out of 10 and that four-fifths of Catalan people give the institution a fail grade, according to the CEO polling agency.