Read in Catalan

Catalan presidency candidate Quim Torra's speech to Parliament on Saturday was not short on quotable quotes. Here are ten key phrases from the man who has a good chance of becoming the new president of Catalonia:  

“We will have no excuse for not building the republic”

In a speech marked by reassertions of the mandate for independence won at the referendum of 1st October, Quim Torra assured that, with the presidential investiture and the formation of a government, direct rule over Catalonia will be lifted and "we will have no excuse for not working to build the Catalan Republic”. As well, he promised to be “loyal to the mandate of 1st October, to construct an independent state in the form of a republic”.

“No, your Majesty, that's not the way”

His speech was multilingual, and the candidate used the language of Cervantes to directly address Spanish king Felipe VI, especially because of the monarch's incendiary discourse following the independence referendum in October. “Your Majesty, it turns out that there are political prisoners and that the will expressed at the ballot box is not respected”, said Torra in Spanish. he then added: "Majestad, así no"  - No, your Majesty, that's not the way.

“Shall we talk, Mr Rajoy?"

Torra also used the Castilian tongue to send a message to Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy: “¿Hablamos, señor Rajoy?”  - Shall we talk, Mr Rajoy?, he asked, in a speech which reiterated the “outstretched hand” which the Catalan authorities are offering to the Spanish state to begin talks.

“Unacceptable silence of the European institutions”

He also had words - in this case in English - for the president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, saying that he "appreciated” the EC leader's words this week speaking positively about negotiations. However, Torra told Juncker he regretted “the unacceptable silence of the European institutions” with respect to the Catalan conflict. “Democracy is about talking with one another”, he reiterated, reminding Juncker of Catalan society's pro-European outlook.

“The return of the prisoners and exiles”

During his speech, Torra highlighted the provisional nature of his investiture as president, as a consequence of the exceptional circumstances which currently apply. “Catalonia's provisional situation could be brought to an end with the return of the prisoners and exiles”. He also addressed Pablo Llarena, Supreme Court judge hearing the cases against the Catalan leaders, condemning the judge for not complying with the UN resolution asking for imprisoned MP Jordi Sànchez's democratic rights to be ensured. "And when even a United Nations resolution no longer has any effect on you, then, how far can the arbitrariness go? In whose hands is justice in Spain?", he asked.

“We will persist, we will resist and we will invest him”

Even though Quim Torra is the candidate put forward in the investiture debate, Torra made it clear from the start of his speech that the “legitimate president" is Carles Puigdemont. “It should have been Puigdemont making this speech, and he will have to be here doing so as soon as possible”, he asserted. “We will persist, we will resist and we will invest [Puigdemont as president]”, he promised.

“We will withdraw the complaint about the 2014 vote”

Among the initiatives that he promised to carry out once president, Torra committed himself to withdrawing the legal complaint which the Catalan government had been “forced” to make “because of direct rule” to Spain's Court of Accounts against the leaders - ex-president Artur Mas and former ministers Joana Ortega, Francesc Homs and Irene Rigau - who went ahead with the unofficial independence vote held on 9th November 2014.

“Evaluate and repair the effects of Spain's direct rule over Catalonia”

Another of the first measures to be adopted if Torra becomes president will be the nomination of a commissioner “to evaluate and repair the effects of article 155”, under which the Madrid government maintains direct rule over Catalonia. He reiterated that with the formation of the Catalan government the institutions currently affected by this will be restored to their former status.

"Muriel was a revolutionary who smiled"

One of the emotional moments of the candidate's investiture speech was his reference to former Catalan MP and leader of the Òmnium Cultural civil group, the late Muriel Casal. Torra himself succeeded Casal as president of this key pro-independence cultural group. "She was not just the smile of a revolution, she was a revolutionary who smiled”, he recalled. "She flew high above a Catalonia in refoundation, connecting everything that could be connected, whether they were people, feelings, ideas or time. And above all, Muriel's legacy is an incredible legacy, because Muriel gave us the gift of hope".

"We'll talk about life"

Among a number of quotes that Torra used in his speech, one of the most surprising came from a Catalan pop group - a quote which might have been more expected from the more "rock'n'roll" CUP party. "As that Txarango song says, "We'll have it all and we'll talk about life", said Torra. The Txarango song he was quoting was "Agafant l'horitzó".

T'ha fet servei aquest article? Per seguir garantint una informació compromesa, valenta i rigorosa, necessitem el teu suport. La nostra independència també depèn de tu.
Subscriu-te a ElNacional.cat