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Mariano Rajoy's scorn for the offer of dialogue expressed by president Puigdemont from Brussels, just hours after pro-independence parties revalidated their absolute majority in the Catalan Parliament, shows the state of shock which the PP executive and Spanish politics are in over the results. To say, moreover, that the person he has to talk with is Inés Arrimadas is an ode to surrealism. It's just absurd to give first priority as a negotiating partner to the person who will be leader of the opposition in the Parliament ahead of the person legitimately voted by the Catalans to lead the government, something which will only not happen if the Spanish executive maintains its legal gag and doesn't correctly read the new political times which have opened and the opportunity entailed.

You just have to glance at the international press to see the historic nature of the result achieved by the independence movement in almost impossible political conditions and the disaster without compare of the Partido Popular, smallest party in the new Catalan Parliament and unable to form a parliamentary group with the meagre three deputies they achieved. The result has already claimed its first victim in the Spanish government's Moncloa Palace with the immediate departure of Jorge Moragas, the government's great fixer, one of the strategists behind the hardline campaign against the independence movement and, being Catalan by birth, oracle of many of the decisions taken given his proximity to the prime minister. Moragas, incapable of understanding the social and political movements in a Catalonia he has always been disconnected from and known little of, has been the Rasputin of these years, controlling something as important as Rajoy's agenda. His next destination is New York, as ambassador to the United Nations.

Moragas acted as the first fall guy, but it's clear that his head is insufficient given the magnitude of the disaster. The deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, for the first time has a political crisis which meets the conditions to unite her different rivals against her: from María Dolores Cospedal to Alberto Núñez Feijóo. That smile she had last week, when in Girona highlighting the achievements of article 155 and saying, for example, that the organisation headed by Foreign Affairs minister, Raül Romeva, "is no longer called Diplocat[1]. It's called Diplocat... in liquidation"... All this, to applause and smiles from the auditorium, which, the day after the election, inspired one of the jokes of the day: "It's no longer called PP. It's called PP... in liquidation".

Spanish politics hasn't yet given any sign that allows the minimum optimism for rectification of the actions carried out. On the contrary, encouraged by the Spanish news media, it remains comfortable in the judicialisation of politics and the lack of initiatives. Nor will Ciudadanos' result, preferable to any standstill, help to open dialogue spaces. But Puigdemont has to continue his exertion in starting this new legislature. Stock up on arguments, after filling his bag with votes and deputies. And let it be the other party that ignores calls for dialogue which have already started to come from different countries. Like, for example, from Germany via deputy government spokesperson for Angela Merkel's government, Ulrike Demmer. There's still time if Rajoy doesn't want to commit the same errors as before.

 

Translator's note:

1 - Diplocat was the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia, a consortium dedicated to promoting Catalonia internationally, closed by the Spanish government as one of the measures using article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.

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