Elections for the Assembly of Representatives of the “Consell per la República” (Council for the Republic, https://consellrepublica.cat/) were held from 29-31 October. The “Consell per la República” wants to be a government of Catalonia in exile, based in Waterloo (Belgium), to prepare the foundations of the future Catalan Republic by avoiding the fierce and antidemocratic Spanish repression.
The duly registered people voted on-line for the 500 candidates who presented themselves on open lists. 121 people were elected, 70% of them women, who have already chosen a president of the assembly and will have to choose a president of the “Consell per la República” –until now, it has been provisionally the President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, during whose mandate the 2017 a referendum was held, and who went into exile in Belgium to avoid being unjustly imprisoned. Imprisonment is what the other members of the government who stayed in Catalonia had to endure. They were vindictively sentenced to 9 to 13 years in prison, although, due to pressure from European institutions, they were released after almost 4 years in prison.
The “Consell per la República” has 101,913 registered members, despite the fact that in order to register, personal details must be given, and this generates caution in an extremely peaceful and democratic movement that has suffered repression against 3,300 people. Moreover, there are sectors of the pro-independence movement that do not see this strategy of defiance towards Spain as a clear strategy, precisely for fear of its violent reaction. Despite all this, the number of Council members is growing day by day.
In any case, Europe should not ignore the fact that the “Consell per la República” is a huge organisation that intends to overwhelm Spain’s control of Catalonia with peaceful mobilisations that have never been seen before. These mobilisations will create social and economic disruption in Spain and the EU and will try to force a European intervention to avoid a violent reaction from Spain as happened in the 2017 referendum. The Council sees this as the only way out to defend its legitimate objective, because it has learned that Spain will never accept a democratic solution where Catalan citizens have the last word.
Knowing that the time is approaching when the Consell will initiate a Gandhian-style non-violent struggle, it would be far better –and would prevent undue suffering for all– if the EU would act before these mobilisations have a harmful effect on Europe, and would facilitate an agreed democratic solution in which Spain is forced to accept, not unilateral independence, but a binding referendum that democratically decides on the matter.