Catalonia Headlines for March 2018
Still Trying to Form a Government
After two months of failures, the main news issue in March 2018 in Catalonia is centred on how to invest a President of the Generalitat and form a government as election winner Carles Puigdemont stays in exile in Brussels and loses political influence.
I may add other newspapers as the project progresses but the page reflects many of my personal perceptions of what happened because, out of circumstance rather than choice, I read La Vanguardia every day as it is the newspaper available in the bar in Barcelona where I have breakfast.
- Thursday March 1st: Prosecutor warns Parliament not to recover UDI The prosecutor warns Catalan Parliament not to recover the UDI as the independence parties pass a resolution supporting Puigdemont today and the CUP pressurises to rescue the plan for the Republic.
- Friday March 2nd: Puigdemont stands aside and proposes Jordi Sànchez Puigdemont stands aside and proposes Jordi Sànchez and announces a council of the Republic in Brussels that coordinates with the Government but the judge refuses to allow the new presidential candidate to leave prison.
- Saturday March 3rd: The Sànchez candidacy runs into ERC suspicion The negotiations go awry with Puigdemont standing aside as the Sànchez candidacy runs into ERC suspicion and the Republicans propose Junqueras and the CUP decide today.
- Sunday March 4th: CUP demolish JxCat plan to invest Sànchez The CUP demolish the JxCat plan to invest Sànchez, branding the two big pro-independence parties as submissive and invite them to disobey as the repetition of elections looks more likely faced with the reality of the growing institutional bottleneck.
- Monday March 5th: Grillo's M5S first party in Italy without majority Grillo's Five Star Movement is the first party in Italy but it doesn't have a majority as the centre right coalition wins more votes than the new populists and the exit polls suggest difficulties in forming a government.
- Tuesday March 6th: Italy's political earthquake destroys Renzi Italy's political earthquake destroys ex-prime minister Renzi, who stands aside but warns PD he won't support Grillo's party as Brussels fears that the rise of the populists brakes EU reforms.
- Wednesday March 7th: Treasury investigates payments to people close to "Process" The Treasury investigates payments by the Government to people close to the "Process" and the Spanish government demands details of a long lists of people and companies and asks the Generalitat to review accounts since 2015.
- Friday March 9th: Women's historic outcry Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Barcelona on International Women's Day. The unions calculate the cost of the stop at six million and the unequal effect of the strike, which was noticed most in Rodalies.
- Saturday March 10th: Judge and CUP close door on Sànchez' investiture The judge and the CUP close the door on Sànchez' investiture as Llarena argues that the intention of "implementing the Republic" persists and the CUP think the agreement on the multi-consultation is insufficient.
- Sunday March 11th: Indy parties looking for new presidential candidate The independence parties are already looking for another presidential candidate and Puigdemont has to propose another deputy once Jordi Sànchez is totally counted out as the pact between JxCat and ERC anticipates a new proposal will be made from Brussels in 24 hours.
- Monday March 12th: PDECat reclaims leadership of JxCat before Puigdemont PDECat reclaims its leadership of JxCat before Puigdemont and prepares the munipal elections with the aim of recovering its role as the ANC in Barcelona demands an agreement to constitute the government.
- Tuesday March 13th: Uber returns to BCN with taxi ready for war Uber returns to Barcelona with the taxi sector ready for war as the company starts today with 120 hire cars with a professional driver (VTC licence) and the sector denounces that 920 licences conceded exceeds the legal limit.
- Wednesday March 14th: Madrid ignores criticism & lowers taxes again Madrid ignores criticism and lowers taxes again and the community will have the lowest maximum and minimum rates of income tax in the system as Cifuentes also reduces succession tax between brother and sisters, aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces.
- Thursday March 15th: Rajoy links pensions increase to budget Rajoy links the rise in pensions to the budget and proposes increasing the lowest payments and income tax help as PSOE and Podemos push to capitalise on the new pensioners' protest.
- Friday March 16th: Guardia Civil enter Palau after 1-O expenses The Guardia Civil enters the Palau in search of the expenses of October 1st and arrest the secretary of Broadcasting for the publicity campaign for the referendum as Switzerland refuses to detain Puigdemont on the Prosecutor Prosecutor's request.
- Saturday March 17th: Pensioners pressurise to escape hardship Pensioners pressurise to escape from hardship because the 8.7 million pensioners in the country earn an average of €932 a month as citizen collectives, not unions, lead the protests today.
- Sunday March 18th: C's catch PP as PSOE and Podemos get stuck Ciudadanos catch PP as PSOE and Podemos get stuck as Rivera's party would beat the PP on votes and draw on seats and the Socialists would only win three seats more and Podemos would lose 19. In Catalonia, ERC leaves PDeCat behind and their advance could put them ahead of the Comuns.
- Monday March 19th: Constitutional reform solution for Catalan crisis Constitutional reform is imposed in the face of the Catalan crisis as 67% of Spaniards agree with changing the Magna Carta to resolve the conflict and 48% believe in a political response to the independence demands.
- Tuesday March 20th: EU & London reach agreement for soft Brexit The EU and London reach an agreement for a soft Brexit as May's compromises allow an agreement over the transition until 2020 but the solution for the Northern Ireland border remains pending.
- Wednesday March 21st: Public Prosecutor allows Forn to leave prison The Public Prosecutor allows ex-conseller Forn to leave prison on bail for humanitarian reasons and Jordi Sànchez might give up his seat in order to leave prison.
- Thursday March 22nd: Turull investiture accelerates before court appearance The investiture of Turull accelerates before appearing before the judge as Torrent calls an emergency plenary to vote for the JxCat candidate because the pro-independence parties want him to attend the Supreme Court as President.
- Friday March 23rd: Turull's attempt fails and now the judge will decide Turull's attempt fails and now the judge will decide as the CUP vetoes the candidate's election and accepts that the pro-independence bloc is broken at the same time the challenger offers "an outstretched hand" to Rajoy and avoids referring to the Republic.
- Saturday March 24th: Judge sends five independence leaders to jail Judge Llarena sends another five independence leaders to jail with prison sentences for Turull, Rull, Romeva, Forcadell and Bassa. All the imprisoned are accused of rebellion and misappropriation and Euro arrest warrants activated for Puigdemont, Rovira and four ex-consellers.
- Sunday March 25th: JxCat and ERC ally to avoid elections The Public Prosecutor is already investigating the Catalan Government over the Referendum. The investigation opens with the census of Catalans abroad, adverts calling for inscriptions to decide between "yes and no" and JxSi and the CUP finalising the passing of the breakup law.
- Monday March 26th: Arrest of Puigdemont in Germany kindles tension The arrest of Puigdemont in Germany kindles tension as the ex-president is arrested after crossing the Danish border in an an operation by the Police and the CNI. The Government and the Prosecutor believe the handover to Spain will be quick and will take about two months.
- Tuesday March 27th: Puigdemont will stay in prison until handover is resolved Puigdemont will stay in prison until the handover is resolved and the regional high court will take the final decision over the extradition tomorrow. The Belgian Prosecutor doesn't see risk of disappearance for the ex-consellers Comín, Serret and Puig.
- Wednesday March 28th: Government tries to placate protests with 3 billion The Government tries to placate the protests with 3 billion and predicts a tax reduction for low wage earners and an increase of between 1% and 3% for pensions. The Executive presents the budget and is hoping for PNV's vote.
- Thursday March 29th: Parliament presents the front in favour of prisoners Parliament presents the front in favour of the prisoners as JxCat, ERC and the CUP argue that Puigdemont can be invested. Independence parties and Comuns vote to free the prisoners.
- Saturday March 31st: JxCat and ERC will insist on Sànchez as candidate JxCat and ERC will insist on Sànchez as candidate and say they want a judicial pronouncement after the admission of the UN denouncement and admit that when this route runs out they'll look for another candidate without pending lawsuits.
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