Catalan Independence Process Declaration

Immediate Legal and Political Implications

There are a number of legal and political implications to the passing of the Declaration of the Beginning of the Catalan Independence Process, which show the need for a new Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

It seems likely that the declaration will lead to confrontations with the Spanish State, particularly with the Constitutional Court, as well as challenges from the Catalan political parties who do not support the Catalan Independence Process, as can be seen from the flags waved by the unionists in the Parliament of Catalonia after the debate had finished.

As Artur Mas pointed out in his investiture speech on Monday November 9th 2015, the best way to face these attacks and challenges is with a newly invested government that has the power to put many of the articles into practice.

1. Solemn Declaration

The approved resolution declares the beginning of a process that will culminate in the creation of a Catalan State and the start of a constituent process that aims to be civil, participative, open, integrative and active in the preparation of the basis for the future Catalan Constitution. In spite of the extensive definitions that have gone previously, according to this text, it will be the new government that has to take measures in order to make it effective.

2. Laws with a Sell by Date

The text foresees a period of one month in which the processing of the laws of Constiuent Process, Social Security and Catalan Treasury will begin. Raul Romeva emphasised that it is a question of showing the will to begin work on drafting and passing the laws rather than a countdown. Artur Mas assumed responsibility for these laws and mentioned them, along with other structures of state, in his investiture speech.

3. Limitations of the Interim Government

The lack of agreement between Junts pel Sí and the CUP when it comes to the investiture of Mas has an effect on the timing of putting the resolution into practice. Artice 27 of the Catalan Law of Presidency and Government, not the Spanish Constitutional Court, establishes limitations with regard to the powers of a interim government that is hung over from the previous legislature. Such a government cannot pass either budgets or new laws.

4. Social Annex

The declaration includes an annex that details measures in nine areas of social policy and aims to "protect the fundamental rights affected by decisions of the institutions of the State". The responsibility is laid down to a "future government" that currently depends on whether Artur Mas is invested president or not. The time frame for electing a new President of the Generalitat expires on January 10th, exactly three months from the first parliamentary session.

5. Renegotiation of the Debt

The annex urges the future government to start negotiations on the whole of the Generalitat's structured finance system and to create a parliamentary work group with the remit of fulfilling this objective. However, the first step is to plan a programme of meetings with bank representatives to "study the possibility of renegotiating interest rates and commitments.

6. Constitutional Court

PSC asked for a nominal vote and the Partido Popular a separate vote with regard to Article 6 and 8, which talk of Catalonia not being subordinate to the Spanish Constitutional Court and also only obeying new laws emanating from the Parliament of Catalonia. Mas's government has already dodged rulings on the Catalan Treasury and Energy Poverty.

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