Six months later, ERC's secretary general, Marta Rovira, has reappeared at the party's national council held this Saturday in Barcelona. She did so to make a call for the "republican movement" to reach "great consensuses" for "the country to advance". Although she's spoken several times to party meetings behind closed doors since going into exile in Geneva, this was the first time she's done so in front of the press.
"Today, the republican movement has to sit down and talk. It has to reach consensus and great agreements for the country to move forwards", said the politician, adding that "the independence movement has only advanced with great consensuses". That said, Rovira clarified that "reaching consensus doesn't mean becoming uniform, it means reaching great agreements to move forwards".
She also highlighted the referendum on 1st October last year, which she described as a "starting point" and a "point of no-return". She said it was one of the clearest examples of great agreements leading to progress.
"It was possible thanks to the consensus between political actors and social movements, the complicity between democratic institutions and the public, the coherence between democratic office holders and the popular movement," she said.
The party's secretary general, who was greeted by an enthusiastic ovation, also used her speech to criticise the repressive attitude of the Spanish state. She said that, in the referendum trial, "the independence movement will be on trial" but also "our freedom of expression and our civil and political rights". As such, she called for the audience to take a stand and to explain to the world what is happening in Catalonia.
"We have to make it clear that holding a referendum is no crime. In none of the world's democratic states can it be a crime," she argued.
ERC's national council meeting in Barcelona this Saturday was used to present the party's new strategical proposal and to endorse the changes to the party's executive committee (link in Catalan) presented on Monday.