Friday, 30 September 2016

Much said of Catalan President's "Referendum or Referendum", but there's more

Much has been said and discussed about Catalan President Carles Puigdemont's "Referendum or Referendum", i.e. a referendum will be held whether the Spanish governement approves it or not. But there is another point journalists seem to be evading and many commentators have missed: the laws of disconnection.

These laws include a bill on an Internal Revenue Service, which is already being expanded to meet the requirements of an independent state, and a Social Security Bill, which will go beyond the current management of the Health Service to include all aspects of social care and welfare such as pensions, family support and unemployment benefit.

But there is also a third critical law which is to be passed before the referendum is held in the second half of September 2017: the Legal Transition Bill. The opening article of that bill will read something like "Catalonia is an independent republic." In other words, it will be a de facto unilateral declaration of independence.

Pro-independence actors, both the political parties and the civic grass-roots organisations such as the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, have always argued against the idea set forth by Spain that "independence is illegal" and that an independent Catalonia would "wander in empty space". The third law of disconnection, the Legal Transition Bill will guarantee there will be no legal vacuum, no illegality, no void. All current Spanish law not superseded by Catalan legislation, as well as all international treaties signed by Spain, will remain in force guaranteeing rule of law.

This is, in effect, what was backed by the Vote of Confidence
in the Catalan Parliament yesterday, even though there has been much vociferation by the press and by unionist parties and commentators on the Referendum. The Junts pel Sí coalition, including Christian-Democrat Conservatives and Liberals though to Social-Democrats and Socialists, along with the far-left CUP, have thus set the ball rolling towards the completion of the Roadmap for Independence set forth at the beginning of the current Catalan Parliament within the 18 months it
established, even though it had at that time seemed wildly optimistic.

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