The first comments from Catalan president Quim Torra following Sunday's Spanish general election. And the first offer from the Catalan leader to election winner Pedro Sánchez to recover the "strength and courage to go back to where we left off." And Torra added: "We're still waiting there."
Sánchez's PSOE has obtained a strong enough electoral result to allow it a more relaxed approach in terms of building electoral alliances. But the victory is also a clear reversal for the party's more conservative regional barons, the leaders in Andalusia, Extremadura and Aragon who raised howls of protest when the Spanish prime minister initiated a public dialogue with the Catalan executive.
For this reason, Torra has asked "to face the months ahead with a sincere willingness for real dialogue" to avoid "talking at cross purposes." After a Catalan Government spokesperson had earlier invited the Spanish authorities "to rebuild our bridges without anyone imposing any pre-conditions", Torra specified that the basic premise is for Spain to recognize Catalonia as a political subject with whom it can have a bilateral relationship. And for it to accept that the Catalan side can bring to the table the right to self-determination and the end of repression. "This time, allow me to wait" asked Torra, "until there is a desire to sit down and talk, it's now his turn to make a move."
Catalan elections as a reaction to the Supreme Court verdict?
Speaking at the presentation of the book Discurso a la nación catalana (Discourse to the Catalan nation) by Spanish pro-independence academic Ramón Cotarelo, Torra also commented on the timing of the next Catalan election. One possibility being mooted in private is calling Catalans to the polls in response to the Supreme Court's verdict in the trial of the 12 Catalan independence leaders. On this, Torra said only that "I won't accept any verdict other than an acquittal." When the Supreme Court's decision is known, "the people of Catalonia will find themselves at a crossroads, a turning point," said the president, warning that "if these 'not guilty' verdicts do not come, I will propose to Parliament a response that must be based on the right to self-determination."
It remains to be seen which arrives first: the trial verdict, or the reopening of dialogue between Spanish and Catalan governments.