BARCELONA – Two important Catalan separatist parties that were dismissed from regional governance in response to an independence bid have on Monday announced their plans to run in snap local elections called by the central government as it took control of Catalonia.
The center-right Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) of deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and the left-wing Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) were the largest factions of the Junts Pel Sí (Together for Yes, JxS) coalition, which had a narrow majority in the regional parliament until it was dismissed en masse by Spain.
“We do not fear the ballot box, Mariano Rajoy. We will see you there,” said PDeCAT secretary Marta Pascal in a message addressed to the Spanish prime minister.
Her words came following a regional party meeting that went ahead in the absence of Puigdemont, who is thought to have traveled to Brussels just as Spain’s Attorney General announced a rebellion and sedition lawsuit against him.
Pascal insisted that Puigdemont had agreed to the stance adopted by PDeCAT.
Rajoy’s conservative government triggered Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution on Friday, stripping Catalonia of its autonomy, sacking its entire regional government, dissolving its parliament and calling fresh local elections for Dec. 21, just minutes after Catalan lawmakers voted through a unilateral declaration of independence.
“Rajoy, we will see you at the ballot box because we do not accept any of the measures of the application of Article 155, a miserable application that annihilates our self-government, our autonomy, and our own institutions,” Pascal added.
Meanwhile, Sergi Sabrià, spokesman for the ERC, which was the second force in the JxS coalition, branded the Dec. 21 elections illegitimate and a trap, although added that the party some way to participate.
He insisted that the “independent republic” of Catalonia was the only legitimate power in the region and that Article 155 had been a coup d’état against Catalan democratic institutions.
“On Dec. 21 we will find a way to be present, presenting ourselves in some way, since it is an opportunity to consolidate the republic,” he added.
The Spanish Popular Party government, which is conservative, has taken control of Catalan administrations.