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Catalonia Braces For Far-right Challenge In Crucial Election

Catalan government urges massive voter turnout to counter far-right threat
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The Catalan government is calling for a massive voter turnout on Sunday, to avoid a victory for the far-right and “their persecutory mania against Catalonia”.  Patrícia Plaja, spokesperson for the Catalan government, responded to the statements made by Vox candidate Santiago Abascal, who at a breakfast organised by Europa Press guaranteed a “sustained” intervention in Catalonia, in the event that his party reaches the Spanish government, as opposed to the “155 joke” executed by the PP.

“I have “no doubt” that political tensions will return if the right and the extreme right manage to reach the Spanish government, and when asked if a situation similar to that of 2017 could be repeated, he assured that it could be “worse”, given that his proposal is to increase the crackdown against Catalonia,” said Abascal.

In the press conference following the meeting of the Catalan government’s executive council, Plaja assured that Abascal’s declarations come as “no surprise” and that the Catalan government is aware that if they can, they will carry out their threats, bypassing the legal framework if necessary. “They want to put an end to the great consensuses of our country. They are the Una, Grande y Libre group [“United, Great and Free”, a Francoist motto]. But now, unlike 80 years ago, it can be avoided by filling the ballot boxes. We can all go and vote on Sunday. There is still time to prevent it”, said Plaja.

The spokesperson guaranteed that, in any case, the Catalan government will work to “defend rights and continue to win those which are not yet established”; she assured that it has the “strength” to do so and to achieve “women’s rights to live without fear, the right to love whoever they want, the right to housing, to protect the Catalan school model and so many other rights”.

Spanish right-wing opposition party Partido Popular (PP) leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo delivers a speech during an electoral meeting as part of Spain’s July 23 general elections campaign, in Palma de Mallorca on July 18, 2023. The Catalan government is calling for a massive voter turnout on Sunday, to avoid a victory for the far-right and “their persecutory mania against Catalonia. JAIME REINA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES.

At today’s meeting, the executive council approved the creation of a commission to monitor the Spanish State’s regulatory initiatives with the aim of “shielding the Catalan government’s powers from the Spanish government”. The commission will prevent and fight against the invasion of powers, will meet once a month and, should any interference be detected, will act immediately. The commission, in which the Generalitat’s Legal Advisory Committee will play a key role, will report to the Catalan minister of the Presidency.

Catalan ruling

The reading plan approved by the Catalan government was presented at the press conference, which Anna Simó, Catalan minister of Education, and Natàlia Garriga, Catalan minister of Culture, attended. This allowed Simó to assess the Catalan High Court of Justice’s (TSJC) rulings that force three more schools to implement the 25% Spanish quota, which was formally announced today. The minister of Education, who specified that the ruling will affect two of the schools, given that the third pupil no longer attends the affected school, reproached that “the TSJC is exceeding its functions and is supplanting the functions of the legislative and executive branches”; that it should not interfere in pedagogical matters; that its decisions go against the existing legal framework in Catalonia; and that the rulings are not final and the Catalan government will appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court. “As we feared, the TSJC wanted to enter the election campaign and has done so”.

Regarding the ruling that the lawsuit filed by Catalan president Père Aragonès over the Pegasus spying case will remain in a Barcelona court, the spokeswoman assured that the Catalan government is “moderately satisfied” that it will not go to Spain’s National Audience court, which has “no interest in reaching the end of this issue”. “Confidence in Spanish justice? Little”, insisted Plaja.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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