The constitutional process, key to broadening agreement

The signatories to the pact see room to add CUP, ICV-EUiA, and Unió.

"Not everyone has signed on that should, so the door is open". After signing the preliminary agreement for the post- 27 September (27-S) roadmap, Artur Mas, President of the Generalitat, expressed the need to expand the pact beyond current signatories CDC, ERC, and the main pro-independence citizens organizations. This call by Mas was reiterated by land, sea, and air by the core groups that have signed the pact, who underlined the "open" character of a document that aspires to be a synthesis of not only the clearly pro-independence parties, but also groups that, without defining themselves as such, are in favor of a constitutional process. It is precisely in the drafting process of a new Constitution that the signers of the pact see the potential for adding not only the alternative pro-independence left, centered around CUP, but also ICV-EUiA and Unió.

The agreement signed by CDC, ERC, the ANC, Omnium Cultural, and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) provides for the "preparation of a draft constitutional text" within 10 months from the elections and "through a participatory mechanism that allows for the addition to the project of new willing parties through a constitutional process" with "direct citizen participation" via a "constitutional convention". This is a clear "wink"-- as president of the ANC, Carmen Forcadell admitted yesterday to ARA -- to forces, such as ICV, EUiA or Podemos, which are advocating for a constitutional process, although still within the framework of Spain.

  A new Constitution, a road to understanding

The pro-sovereignty political and social organizations are convinced that these parties-- the PSC, PP, and Ciutadans are a separate case-- will recognize a majority result of 27-S and not miss the opportunity to participate actively in a constitutional process for Catalonia. This could be either in parallel with a constitutional process on a Spain-wide level-- in the remote case of a majority win by Podemos in the general election at the end of the year sufficient to facilitate this process-- or alone, if the political system that came out of the Transition (the late 1970´s post-Franco transition to democracy) remains dominant. And it is via the "contributions", referring to the post 27-S constitutional process mentioned in the roadmap, according to Forcadell, that parties other than those which are strictly pro-independence will come to "view as their own" the opportunity to design a new state. The newly signed agreement calls for the ratification of a Constitution in 2017, this time by referendum. It is in the process of expanding the contents of the new country that they see the potential to go from a very tight majority to a comfortable one.

Proponents of the agreement also consider that the explicit commitment to maintain an "expectant attitude" regarding a possible approval by Madrid of a binding referendum on independence, makes it easier for ICV, EUiA, Unió and Podemos to sign on to the roadmap, as it leaves the door open for a Scottish-type referendum, as they have called for. The initial signatories understand that after the municipal elections in May conditions will be more conducive to bringing together new members with sights set on 27-S.

Yesterday exposed yet another fringe issue to resolve. What will determine a pro-independence victory on 27-S: an absolute majority of deputies or surpassing the barrier of 50% of the votes? While two of the architects of the preliminary roadmap agreement -general coordinator of CDC Josep Rull, and Secretary General of ERC Marta Rovira- spoke of an absolute majority of deputies, as this is a parliamentary process leading to a ratifying referendum, the CUP warned that a majority of deputies would not be enough, and that the plebiscitary character of 27-S requires that the votes for pro-independence candidates clearly exceed 50%.

Also yesterday, Francesc Homs, Presidential Advisor and government spokesman, challenged Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to accept the result of the 27-S vote. Homs rejected the idea that a democratic mandate emerging from the polls, whatever it may be, could be considered illegal, because if so "it would mean that we are not in a democratic state."

Homs added his voice to the calls to broaden the preliminary agreement, as did the leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, who, in a lecture at the Born Cultural Center as a part of the Moment Zero cycle of the newspaper El Punt Avui, applied even more pressure: "The needs of the country are more important than internal processes of reflection". For the leader of the Republicans, the country "can not afford" what he called "unnecessary delay".

In a new example of the reactivation of pro-independence machinery, the Association of Municipalities for Independence today made public the Municipal Declaration of Cervera, which will recommend pro-independence municipal agreements, and makes clear the commitment of municipalities to the process of a democratic break via the same constitutional process for new city councils. The manifesto, which is being presented today at mid-day in the Girona City Hall, will suggest to the mayors who emerge from the 24-May municipal elections a formula to express clearly, at the moment of taking office, their loyalty to and support of the Govern and Parliament on the road to independence.