Catalan culture and a sense of belonging with a strong political component have developed and struggled to survive over the centuries, often being driven underground in the face of violent suppression by a far more powerful Spanish nationalism. These grievances are a key component of Catalan sense of nationhood, as is language. Catalonia today constitutes a densely articulated economic, political, social and cultural world of its own, which is closely intertwined with, but also distinct from, (the rest of) Spain.
At Franco's death, his regime, under the leadership of King Juan Carlos, mutated into a liberal democracy without the Francoist establishment relinquishing its hold on power. In so doing it ensured the crimes committed over 40 years of authoritarian rule would go unpunished. Spain's current ruling party emerged from one of the harder sectors of the Francoist establishment. The fact that it is in government today bears testament to the original plan's success.
The constitution was negotiated on the basis of the system put in place by the 1976 Political System Reform Law -prior to any elections-, and representation resulting from the 1977 elections (in addition to 20% of senators designated by the King). The congress and senate that were elected assembled a committee of seven men to draft the constitutional text: four of them from the Francoist establishment, one from the Socialist Party, one from the Communist Party and one from the Catalan conservative nationalists.
Popular Party founder, Manuel Fraga, was himself a high-ranking member of the Falange for many years. Over time the Falange was replaced by the National Movement, and all officials of the Francoist state swore on its principles, the first of which stated “Spain is a unity of destiny in the universal. Service to the greatness, unity and liberty of the nation is the sacred duty and collective endeavour of all Spaniards”. This obsession with Spanish unity, which has been carried into contemporary Spain by the Popular Party and the 1978 constitution, is key to understanding the evolution of the Catalan crisis. Francoist core values survived Franco’s death.
In recent years the Popular Party has systematically used the judiciary to silence political opposition and to ensure widespread corruption at every level of government went unpunished. In addition they have used police, prosecutors and complicit media to fabricate evidence seeking to incriminate the leadership of Podemos and Catalan pro-independence politicians. Today they are using the judiciary to silence criticism and criminalise Catalan politicians and civil society. How does the Popular Party control the Judiciary? State Prosecutors Here things work following a simple chain of command. The government appoints directly the head prosecutor, who in turn appoints all other prosecutors. In cases...
A summary of the key milestones in the Catalan independence process following the Constitutional Court ruling which sparked it in 2010.
Politically Spain is a parliamentary system, in which governments require parliamentary support in order to be formed and to pass budgets and laws. There are two houses of parliament: a Congress and a Senate. Understanding the electoral system in conjunction with the party dynamics across regions is key to understanding how parliamentary majorities can be established. These are the two aspects that this article sets out to explore. The Setup Administratively Spain is made up of 17 autonomous communities with a relatively high degree of self-administration. Electorally, however, these regions are not relevant on a national level where, as set out...
The following list of Catalan laws annulled by the Spanish Constitutional Court should dispel any myths about the extent of Catalonia's self-government prior to the current crisis. The Catalan parliament has striven to adopt progressive social and environmental legislation in recent years only to be prevented time and again from progressing in these fields.
Four are chosen by congress with a ⅗ majority. In practice appointments are made by means of a deal between the Partido Popular (PP) which appoints 2 and the Socialist Party (PSOE) which appoints 2, as between both parties a ⅗ majority can always be ensured. Four are chosen by the senate with a ⅗ majority. Appointments again follow the same logic as for those appointed by the congress. Two are appointed by the Spanish Council of the Judiciary, which again is made up of members which require a ⅗ support in both houses of parliament. Two more are appointed by the Government. At present, this is, directly by the PP.
Keep track of all key events in the Catalan crisis since September 2017.