Vilaweb website, 2018-12-09.
The political situation in Catalonia is red-hot. The President of the Catalan Government, the Generalitat, and some of its ministers are in exile, other are detained, with the incumbent Catalan Government subject to new threats every other day, and the streets in uproar. In the present-day situation, Brussels saw the presentation of the “Consell per la República” in early December, an interesting and original initiative aimed at implementing the Catalan Republic, as inspired by the Estonian model. The Council for the Republic is calling for a vote in order to elect the Assembly of Republican Representatives. The Catalan digital daily VILAWEB outlines in this article the main features of the Council for the Republic, translated to Basque and summarized in English by NAZIOGINTZA:
ONE.- The Council for the Republic (Consell per la República) is a private entity constituted in accordance with Belgian law. Its goal is to undertake the first step towards the institutionalization of the Republic of Catalonia. It aspires to represent the republican citizenship, with a view to bringing the republic into effect, as lawfully proclaimed by the Parliament of Catalonia and the Generalitat on 27 October 2017. Catalans have begun organizing on the margins of Spanish law.
TWO.- The Council for the Republic will hold the authority recognized to it by the Catalan citizens. It has now opened the census system where any citizens will be eligible for registration. Therefore, its authority will issue from the number of people registering in the census. The Council presently proclaims three types of authority:
- First, Quim Torra. Its designation as the 131st president of the Generalitat relies on an agreement reached among pro-independence forces. The agreement, signed by Junts per Catalunya, ERC and CUP, and presented on 8 March 2018, provided for the establishment of a Assembly of Representatives and a Council for the Republic operating in exile.
- The second plank of its authority lies within the vote held on 1st October and the ensuing Proclamation of Independence. The Council for the Republic is an institution issued from the ballot boxes, and the plebiscite.
- Its third plank relies on the proclamation of the Republic of 14 April 1931.
The Spanish state acknowledged this authority in 1954, before the Spanish constitution, when it accepted the institutional status of Josep Tarradellas as the President of the Generalitat.
THREE.- The Council is a private institution. The agreement for the inauguration sets out that the Assembly of Representatives and the Council for the Republic are subject to private law, so guaranteeing the institution’s independence, safeguarding it from the intervention of the Spanish State. International politics allows for the existence of a party, association or institution representing a whole people, with no requirement to have the existence of that state diplomatically acknowledged. The world bears witness to many such cases.
FOUR.- The Spanish State cannot interfere with the Council for the Republic, since it is constituted in accordance with private law and in the framework of the free European area. The Spanish State cannot prosecute it legally, nor obstruct its activity in any way. If the Spanish Government decided to dissolve the Government and the Parliament of the Generalitat, the Council for the Republic would take over their job, carrying out the functions and representation that institutions in Catalonia may not be able to perform.
FIVE.- Concerning organization, a vote is due on 2019 to form the Assembly of Representatives of the Council. This House will be made up of a number of members numbering between 100 and 150 elected by all individuals who have gained republican citizenship on registration for the Citizenship Census. The Assembly of Representatives will be mainly formed by the citizens who stand in open lists for election. Another small group will originate from a number of MPs from Catalonia or mayors and local councillors from the Principality of Catalonia. Finally, a section has been set aside for citizens from the Catalan Countries and worldwide, with the latter enjoying that status on condition of registration in the Citizenship Census.
SIX.- All these operations will be carried out on mobile phone. The Council for the Republic adopts the model of electronic administration established in Estonia, providing for the possibility to perform all citizens’ transactions by mobile phone, including all elections and referenda eventually called.
SEVEN.- Anyone over age sixteen is eligible to register as a citizen in the census, which automatically qualifies him/her as a republican citizen.
EIGHT.- The Council has been created in the Principality under the authority of the republican Generalitat of Catalonia, but holds no geographic boundaries. Any citizen from the Catalan Countries (Països Catalans) can be a member of the Council and, aside from physical citizenship, anyone believing in the principles of the Republic of Catalonia may be member of the Council. “Citizenship in the 21st century cannot be imposed, but instead desired, voluntary, and assumed, valued by oneself”. This domain will allow for the elaboration of laws, by means of the Parliament of Catalonia, and the development of the Catalan Constitution along the same lines.
NINE.- The activity of the Council will manifest in five spheres, with each one operating under the Council’s control. The first such domain is the political. This domain will provide for laws and the elaboration of the Catalan constitution. The second domain is the international. The Council will perform diplomatic initiatives, holding relations with states and international peers. The third is the juridical domain, in charge of the defence of prisoners, exiles and other people’s rights, including the right of self-determination. The fourth domain is about culture and diffusion, responsible for spreading Catalan culture in the international context. The fifth and last domain will target studies and knowledge, encouraging relevant studies for the diffusion and promotion of the Catalan Republic.
TEN.- The three pro-independence parties with representation in the Parliament of Catalonia endorsed the establishment of the Council, but CUP withdrew later its support. However, CUP’s faction Poble Lliure has confirmed its support to the Council.
Link to see the presentation event held in Brussels: