Catalan minister Jordi Turull (JxCat) has today made his first public remarks from prison. This Saturday, after last-minute authorisation from the Central Electoral Commission, the candidate for Lleida has spoken by videolink to a party rally in Seu d'Urgell for the Spanish general election on 28th April. This is the first time any of the political prisoners has spoken to a party event, after the press conferences given by Oriol Junqueras and Jordi Sànchez over the last two days.
In his comments, Turull called on voters to back his party to send a message "to the state and to the world" that the independence movement wants "to finalise the 1st October [2017 referendum]". "It was the determination of a country to become free", he said, describing JxCat as the "spirit of the 1st October" which plans to take that mandate to Madrid.
The former Catalan minister referred to his candidacy for Congress as "the best way to demonstrate that our convictions are stronger than the state's repression" and called on people to not fall into "despondency and resignation", but instead return to the spirit he says enabled the 2017 referendum: "Unity, broad-base support and determination".
He called on supporters to "not falter" and "not choose the lesser of two evils" in the upcoming Spanish election. "We only depend on ourselves, we have to do it from here because nobody will do it for us from there," he said. He argued that a focus on possible post-election arithmetic "distracts [us] from our main objective, which is to fill the ballot boxes".
🎥 conseller @jorditurull: "Som l’esperit de l’#1Oct i anirem a Madrid amb el mandat de l’#1Oct. L'esperit de determinació ha permès que Catalunya superés els constants embats de l’Estat. Hem superat moments molt difícils perquè hem anat a la una"#FemHoJunts pic.twitter.com/xAMWxfKXX8— Junts per Catalunya 🎗 (@JuntsXCat) 20 d’abril de 2019
Turull, visibly emotional, spoke for close to fifteen minutes. The fact that the Central Electoral Commission had only given him permission barely 30 minutes earlier made it more difficult, having to be organised quickly leading to some technical problems early on. The Commission had given him a maximum of half an hour, reduced further by starting later than planned.
The leaders of JxCat's candidacy and supporters at the event received his words enthusiastically. Among those present was Catalan president Quim Torra who said that his party "won't waste time on Spanish monarchies or republics" because "they've always ended up backfiring on" Catalonia.
He called on voters to vote "for independence and the republic" through JxCat, "president Puigdemont's candidates".
The former minister ended his speech saying "Visca Catalunya lliure" ("Long live free Catalonia"), then blowing a kiss to the camera and putting his hand on his heart.