The Government of Catalonia has broken with the Spanish monarchy. You can say it louder, but not clearer. Temporary or definitive, we will see. In an unprecedented institutional gesture from his official residence at the Palau de la Generalitat, at noon on Friday President Quim Torra read an official statement by the pro-independence government in which he announced, amongst other things, that from that moment on neither he nor any member of the Catalan Executive would attend any event convened by the Spanish monarchy; and that from then on the King of Spain would not be invited by the Generalitat to the events held by the Government of Catalonia. The decision by the President, of enormous political and institutional significance and unprecedented since the restoration of democracy, marked the day on which the Mediterranean Games were inaugurated in Tarragona, and elucidated several onslaughts extant since the referendum on the 1st of October, the political proclamation of independence and the elections of the 21st of December.
Quim Torra has taken his first decisions of magnitude since he won the investiture in Parliament on the 14th of May. First, he has settled a debate that should never have been opened. The President of the Generalitat is present at any public event held in Catalonia as the country's leading authority. He will not shirk, since he is the representative of popular sovereignty and he will not forswear that. Another matter was how he expressed the discomfort of the independence movement, and by extension, that of the parliamentary majority and the Government. On a day with considerable gestural symbolism, he did so in at least four steps.
First, with the institutional declaration from the Palau. Second, attending the demonstration by civic pro-independence organisations ANC and Òmnium to protest the King’s visit to Tarragona. Third, not taking part in the line of authorities that welcomed the monarch at the entrance of the stadium. Fourth, giving Felipe VI the reports by the Catalan ombudsman, the Síndic de Greuges on the violence of October 1 and the subsequent criminal persecution; and also a book by the press photographer Jordi Borràs with pictures, some of them Dantesque, of the conduct of the Civil Guard and the National Police during that day of voting. Four steps, all new, and which signify an institutional schism, the first measures of the new government in Catalonia.
For those who have lost their bearings in the midst of all the fake news in the papers. The first problem was Artur Mas, and every weapon available was used for his destruction. Next was Carles Puigdemont and by extension the whole Govern, a good part of which is today in exile or in prison. And, from now on the problem will be Torra. When everything is much simpler if the problem is tackled head-on: if it isn’t the President, it’s the referendum, or it’s the forbidden negotiation on independence. On the right to decide. On self-determination. As long as this case file is not the subject of dialogue and negotiation, any attempt at détente will be doomed to failure.
A final note: was it necessary to make the opening ceremony of the Tarragona Games so extraordinarily seedy? Because if there is anything we have an abundance of in Catalonia, it is a talent for events like this. I take it the person responsible will apologise, right?