Catalan political parties Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) have reached an agreement detailed in a 46-page document entitled Proposta d'acord d'investidura (Investiture agreement proposal). They have now sent the agreement to the other pro-independence party in the Parliament, CUP. The agreement includes a "constituent process" involving public participation, which would be used to "define the basis of a proposal for the Constitution of the Catalan Republic".
The agreement's aim is to unblock the legislature after CUP's announcement that they would abstain in an investiture vote on Jordi Sànchez. Following Carles Puigdemont's announcement he would "provisionally" stand aside to facilitate investing a president, JxCat proposed Sànchez as an alternative candidate, a suggestion ERC have accepted. If CUP abstains, JxCat and ERC will not be able to get the votes to invest Sànchez, due to those lost with Puigdemont and minister Toni Comín being in exile in Brussels.
The agreement also includes plans for a "multiconsultation with full guarantees" so that "the majority of the Catalan" people can express their views on the constituent process.
The "essential guidelines for the legislature" proposed by the document are: the "construction of the Republic", the restoration of the Catalan institutions, the setting up of the political structure in exile in Belgium, revitalisation of the Parliament and the defence of civil rights.
Within these aims, the priority is set as the restitution of the Catalan institutions. "Not only the formal restitution (constitution of the Parliament and formation of a government), but also the material restitution (reversing the effects of the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution)," the text says.
Three lines of action
The document proposes three lines of action for the aim of realising the Republic. One line is through the institutions of Catalonia including the Parliament and the government. The second is the so-called Espai Lliure de l'exili (Free Space in exile) to include new bodies to be set up in Brussels: the Assembly of Representatives, the Council and the Presidency of the Council. Finally, the third is "the Catalan citizenry empowered with collective self-organisation and the constituent process".
Functions of the bodies in Brussels
The Espai Lliure in exile is to "work to develop the political strategy, the internationalisation and the common front for the defence of the civil and collective rights of the Catalan people".
Within this espai, the Assembly, a kind of Parliament, will promote "the actions necessary to advance the establishment of the Republic". It will meet at least twice a year and will choose the president of the Council. The president of the Council, to be Carles Puigdemont, will "promote the policies, strategies and agreements necessary to achieve the Republic" and will nominate the members of the Council.
Government and Parliament
As for the role of the Catalan government and Parliament, the intention is that they should "promote a government agenda of republican obedience" with the aim of "democratically restoring the Catalan institutions and the legitimate government, accompanied by a common front against repression" and, at the same time, "setting up an agenda of policies to make progress towards a better country, which would allow us to counteract the attempt to fracture Catalan society".
A National Constituent Pact will, from within Catalonia, drive the constituent process. Commissions will be constituted in the Parliament to investigate all the matters which the process has to consider.
There will also be created a Social Constituent Forum to incorporate all the proposals which come from the public. The "multiconsultation" will be used for the public to approve the process.
CUP will evaluate the agreement after today's strike
Now JxCat and ERC have reached their agreement, they have sent it to CUP for their consideration, hoping to change their minds on voting to invest Jordi Sànchez. The party will in theory not, however, consider the proposal today, because they have joined the strike called on the occasion of International Women's Day.
An "effort" from CUP
In an interview on Catalan TV this morning, JxCat's deputy spokesperson, Eduard Pujol, said that the agreement had been sent to CUP and called for "an effort" from the party to announce its position before Monday, the day Sànchez's investiture debate is scheduled for, pending the decision by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena as to whether he can attend or not.
Pujol said that the agreement with ERC describes a participatory constituent process with public involvement which, on "a blank sheet of paper", "everything" will be up for debate, a process which is to end with some sort of "Catalan Constitution".
"I value the fact that there is a very extensive document which synthesises the desires of ERC, JxCat and, we hope, CUP too. And [we hope that] from here will come an agreement which we will have to explain well because the success or failure of the legislature requires the empowerment of the people who have to take part in this process," he said.