The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has said that voters who back Catalunya en Comú (Catalonia in Common) on 21st December will not be voting in favour of the Catalan Republic. "Clearly we don't have to place our votes for 'yes' to independence", said Colau, who nonetheless also rejected being placed in the pro-union bloc. The mayor wanted to avoid both options and defended a central position rejecting both the unilateral declaration of independence and the intervention in Catalan autonomy via article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.
In an interview with radio show El món a Rac1, she also took advantage of a decision by Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common) members who yesterday voted to break their agreement with PSC (Socialist Party of Catalonia) in the city hall and return to governing alone to criticise the party's role in the tension between the Spanish and Catalan governments. "PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers' Party] has constructed [article] 155 and supported the imprisonment of the Catalan government," said the mayor. PSC is the Catalan branch of PSOE.
Colau made it clear that the internal vote to break with PSC was the last option after many conversations trying to get them to position themselves against the intervention in Catalan autonomy. These fruitless attempts, according to Colau, were reflected in the result of the vote: "The split won, but not by much, that expresses the sadness with respect to PSC".
About Jaume Collboni, PSC's leader in the city hall and until now the first deputy mayor, she said that "he's sad and uncomfortable" with the positions expressed by PSOE and PSC, who he sees as being close to Rajoy.
Explanations from the government
The mayor also had some especially critical words for the Catalan government, who she accused of sharing responsibility for the political tension in Catalonia. She said that the Parliament's proclamation of independence happened "for fear they'd be called traitors".
Colau said that the decision was "irresponsible" and so directly addressed the Catalan president and ministers, including those in prison, to ask them for "political explanations". "Being in prison doesn't make them untouchable", she insisted, noting that the Education minister recognised yesterday that the Catalan executive wasn't ready to establish the Catalan Republic.
The future of Barcelona
Colau showed herself to be optimistic with the city's political future after her party's split with PSC, even if this leaves them with only 11 councillors of 41 in the Catalan capital. The mayor argued that they will continue working in varying configurations, but also prioritising agreements with left-wing parties, even PSC. "We have a lot of practice with pacts", said Colau, who asked for all parties to act "responsibly", especially now budgets are coming up for approval. Three weeks ago, PDeCAT (Catalan European Democratic Party) and ERC (Catalan Republican Left) offered Colau a stable agreement in the city, an option which could allow the city to remain governable with a very fragmented council.