The referendum of 1st October is already official, to all effects. The president of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, and his entire government, starting with vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, stamped their signatures at 11.26pm on the decree for convening it, and for publication in the Official Gazette of the Government of Catalonia. It was a diffiuclt day in many aspects for all those who are not accustomed to parliamentary filibustering, with sincerely unnecessary interruptions, but very thought out as the opposition's key to reduce the leeway of the parliamentary majority. But by the time the leader of the opposition, Inés Arrimadas, announced a motion of censure to the president at the end of the session, it had become almost uninmportant news in the face of the significance of the moment.
The Spanish Government will appeal the law before the Constitutional Court and we'll see what other coercive initiatives it can activate in order to prevent the vote on 1st October, that is already in progress. But it is indisputable that its political failure is absolute and its analytical capacity almost borders on the ridiculous. Obsessed that this moment would never arrive, shielded by negativity to everything and closing its eyes to the evolution of Catalan society in the last seven years, it did not even want to sit down to negotiate. Neglecting like this an important part of international public opinion that has ended up understanding much more about the majority desire of the Catalans to hold a referendum than the stubborness of Moncloa [the Spanish prime minister's residence]. Not that of foreign governments, of course, that in public have not moved from the stricter orthodoxy — when has it happened in any other way in history? — but from the position expressed by the most influential media, starting with The New York Times or Financial Times, and followed by a legion of newspapers.
The Spanish government, in the hands of the Soraya-Moragas duo, has opted for the laws against politics, when the first is always the consequence of the second and never vice versa. Leaving affected — irremediably? — Mariano Rajoy, and unprotected the head of state, King Felipe VI. Time will make both things evident.
But we return to Catalonia. The relevant item, the most substantial, is that the Catalan government and the parliamentary majority supported the approval of the Law of the Referendum, and the deputies of Catalonia Sí Que Es Pot (Catalonia Yes We Can) abstained in a compromise agreement, but also made clear their internal disagreements. The other groups, Ciutadans (Citizens), PSC (Socialists' Party of Catalonia) and PP (Popular Party), did not take part in the vote and, consequently, the law did not have votes against and it was approved by 72 in favour and with 11 abstentions.
The road that the government has ahead until 1st October is full of difficulties. Everyone is aware that the Spanish government will not make it easy for the executive of Carles Puigdemont. And perhaps for that reason, among the deputies who voted favourably, there wasn't one overall feeling that prevailed. On the one hand, there's the satisfaction of having reached an approval. But on the other, there's the enormous work that needs to be done in the the 24 days before the appointment with the ballot boxes. And with a widespread idea in the independentist world: to now win on 1st October.