Just over an hour. That is how long Meritxell Serret's declaration before the Supreme Court lasted, where she today faced questions from investigating judge Pablo Llarena and the prosecutions in the case. Charged with disobedience and misuse of public funds in her role as a Catalan government minister at the time of the 2017 independence referendum, the ERC party deputy affirmed on emerging from the court that she had assumed the "democratic mandate" of the referendum despite the warnings that were received from the Constitutional Court. And she reiterated her commitment to a "political and democratic solution" for a political conflict that should never have ended up in the courts. Serret left the court without any bail measures having been applied, and still considering whether to request the transfer of the case to Catalonia. She is the first Catalan politician to have returned from exile who has testified before Llarena.
Speaking to the media after her court appearance, Meritxell Serret explained that today was a "coherent step" after returning from exile to start the judicial process and to exercise her elected position as a Catalan MP. She explained that during her testimony before the judge, she reviewed the facts and acknowledged "all the warnings received by the Constitutional Court" and defended that she "assumed the democratic mandate we had received" and the agreements that were taken as a government to go ahead with the 1st October referendum, but she also refuted the charge of misuse of public funds, because her ministry, that of agriculture, "did not take on any type of referendum cost."
Asked if she plans to seek a transfer to Catalonia of the case, which is still in its investigation phase, the former minister said that it will be necessary to assess "how and when the best time" to do so might be. In any case, she affirmed that she will continue the judicial process and at the same time "keep working to find the democratic and political way out of a conflict that never should have entered through the doors of this court" and to "end this situation of judicialization”. Similarly, the ERC deputy added, she hopes that this judicial process "could be useful for the rest of our colleagues who are being prosecuted at the moment."
Supported outside the court
The leadership of the independence movement was present to support the minister Meritxell Serret at the doors of the Supreme Court, where she had been called to testify by judge Pablo Llarena as part of the case. Representatives of the pro-independence political forces and the incumbent Catalan government, led by Pere Aragonès and Meritxell Budó, wanted to be at her side to show their support in the face of what they consider "revenge" by the Spanish state. Also attending was Jon Iñarritu, MP for Basque pro-independence party EH Bildu. Both as she entered and exited the courtroom, Serret was supported and applauded. In the formation of the new Catalan government, the same unity of criteria is not on show.