Quim Torra will sit this Monday in the dock charged with disobedience in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, which had ordered him to remove a banner from the balcony of the Catalan government palace which called for the release of the political prisoners. The Spanish justice system and public prosecution service are trying to charge against the Catalan president and remove him from office, nothing different to what they did with his two predecessors, Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont. There is, however, a difference of scale with the previous situations: Mas and Puigdemont were formally ex-presidents when the judicial apparatus started up against them but, in this case, it's a president at the front of the Catalan government who could be banned from public office in a case which exudes political motivations from all sides and persecution of the senior authority in Catalonia, since the banner placed on the balcony directly impinges on freedom of expression.
Torra has already announced that he's far from going this Monday to deny his actions and will take advantage of the trial to accuse the state and defend the rights and freedoms of the Catalan people as their president. He has, in this direction, a long way to go which won't help reduce the sentence they're asking for, but which will pose the justice system an at least disagreeable dilemma: the defence of the dignity of the presidency of Catalonia come what may, something which must be difficult to understand for those who don't feel questioned by the long history of Catalonia and its presidents who in the last hundred years have suffered imprisonment, exile, legal persecution and even execution in the case of Lluís Companys. Too much past on Torra's shoulders to not take advantage of the trial.
President Torra took office in an exceptional political situation as is the exile and imprisonment of the previous government. Like the character Tom Kirkman, an irrelevant member of the US cabinet in the television series Designated Survivor, Torra assumed the presidency of Catalonia without any political experience and with too many enemies against him. Even the Catalan newspapers who have been after him since the first day have now gone a step further and ask repeatedly for his resignation to solve the internal problems. The trial will end up leading to something else: the Supreme Court, which is where the case will end up, will have the ability, in practice, to decide on the electoral calendar in Catalonia.
The disagreements in the pro-independence world make it very unlikely there will be a consensus to designate a new president to substitute Quim Torra if he is banned from office. Everything suggests, in any case and should this happen, that the next election will then be brought forwards. That would be the second time an election in Catalonia wasn't called by the president, a prerogative Carles Puigdemont already lost in 2017 when he was ousted from office and Mariano Rajoy took on, in practice, the responsibilities of the Catalan president.
For all this, the trial is a move with many aims which is looking to deprive Catalonia of the slightest power and leave its most senior representative without any room for manoeuvre to be a worthy substitute to the office of the 131st president of Catalonia.