JxCat's candidate for president of Catalonia, Jordi Turull, the third name proposed to the Parliament but the first to go to debate (and start the countdown to new elections should his candidacy fail), took advantage of his speech to make a call for dialogue with the Spanish state, directly calling on the king and government, to be able to find a negotiated solution to the independence struggle, describing himself as a link between the past and future of the independence process. "I would prefer to be a victim of injustice than to walk away at the current moment," he warned.
Turull started his speech at 5pm, knowing he didn't have support from CUP and that his investiture is therefore impossible, and that in the coming hours he'll have to travel to Madrid so that Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena can inform him of his prosecution with the possibility he will again be facing pretrial detention.
The candidate, who started his speech referring to this "grave, solemn, but also hopeful time" and the members of the government in exile or in prison, recalled the candidates who preceded him, saying it shouldn't have been him making the speech.
"I feel part of a link in the chain which joins days past with the days to come," he said in response to those who have advised him to not accept the risk implied by presenting his candidacy. Explaining his decision to go ahead with his candidacy, he said he couldn't renounce his "convictions and scale of values".
"If, in the face of these serious times, I had these days sought comfort and supposed zero risk (...) I would have found it difficult to look my daughters in the eyes," he admitted.
The candidate described the Catalans as a people of peace for whom pacts are one of their characteristics. "Today, solemnly, after the indisputable victory of the pro-independence parties in the latest election, we again offer to sit down to negotiate with the Spanish government," he said.
"Why do they not want to speak now," he asked, repeating the offer of "dialogue, dialogue and dialogue" which "doesn't mean giving up". "Dialogue, negotiation and agreement is the best way to be able to move forwards. We solemnly offer this wish for dialogue to the state because it has to be so."
Turull, who spoke some words in Catalonia's other official languages, Aranese Occitan and Spanish, recalled the violence seen during the 1st October referendum, saying that Spanish citizens have no responsibility for it. "We are united by the same desire, to live in freedom," he said.
His speech, for which he joked he didn't have unlimited time given that some of the deputies have a commitment tomorrow -"they already know where it is and don't need me to remind them"-, was split into four sections: the recovery of the Catalan institutions and end of Spanish intervention, social momentum, economic progress and Catalonia's position internationally.
Turull started his speech discussing the consequences of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, and the wish to repair the damage caused to the public and restore the Catalan institutions. He thanked public officials for their work despite article 155 intervention, invoked the role of the public media and referred to how they and the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police have been affected by it. He referred to the defence of the system of linguistic immersion. He then set out the proposed government programme.
"We've been victorious at the ballot boxes (...) and now we have to equal them and be worthy of it. We will be able to make ourselves worth of the freedom that we've won", he said, denouncing that moments in recent months have put in doubt the respect for basic rights.
Turull ended by sending a message of calm, responsibility and confidence to the country. "We will keep our hand outstretched if there is the least hope of receiving a hand outstretched from the head of state or the government of Spain. The very essence of democracy and the respect for the will of the Catalan people expressed at the ballot boxes is at stake."
The candidate called on everyone to work for the country: "we know that everything we're doing, that everything we'll have to do from now on, we can't expect it to be conceded to us by anyone. (...) Let's all be loyal to what Catalonia asks of us and then, be certain that we will overcome all the difficulties, however great they are. (...) Today we can start by doing away with the claws of article 155 and open our future up before us. A pure, clear and bright future."