The Catalan government has this Tuesday set up the Advisory Council for the promotion of the Civil and Social Forum for the Constitutional Debate, entrusted with "analysing and offering the methodology and the program for a debate to define the model of country the public wants". That's according to president Quim Torra, speaking in today's presentation of the body which took place in the Catalan government palace. He was accompanied by the musician and former JxSí deputy Lluís Llach, who will be in charge of running the council.
Torra said the Forum is "one of the key points of the legislature agreement", alongside yesterday's announcements in Brussels. He added that it's a "republican tool" to be used to "move forward in accordance with the Catalan people's right to self-determination and with the wish of an immense majority of the public to decide their future".
The president explained the choice of Llach to head the council noting that he had chaired the Study Commission for the Constitutional Process during the previous legislature, replacing the late Muriel Casals.
"The objective isn't to create a constitution"
When it was his turn to speak, Llach explained that this isn't the start of the "constitutional process", which he believe "Parliament would have to do once effective independence is proclaimed". Instead, it's about debate: "Our objective isn't to create a constitution, but to encourage people to debate". After this process, "we'll have some conclusions on the table" and "we'll know what the country wants".
Llach said that the Forum's objective is to achieve "great public participation reflecting on who we want to be" and which joins forces with the country's social organisations. It aims to "foster the scenario for the associations to activate the front", as well as to compare methodologies from other countries as to how the constitutional process could take place.
Llach avoided naming the ten to twenty members of the Forum, to include a vice-president and secretary, but wanted to make clear that they will come from various ideological backgrounds. Torra will formally nominate them in the coming days, based on Llach's recommendations. "It's totally inclusive, anyone who wants to can take part. Nobody is excluded here", he said in response to journalists' questions as to how they will guarantee that all citizens are represented, not just independence supporters.
As such, he said they want to "address 100% of society". He also said that Torra has guaranteed that the body will have "maximum independence" and "autonomy".
None of the members will be paid for their roles, or for attending council meetings. The president says the forum falls under Law 10/2014 on popular consultations other than referendums and other forms of public participation.