The first edition of What's Up Barcelona? covers the post-Catalan Election week, which was won by the pro-independence Junts pel Sí coalition. However, the CUP have decided not to invest Artur Mas as President (for now) and Mas has been called to appear before the TSJC for his role in the proxy referendum on November 9th last year. The Partido Popular has increased the Spanish Constitutional Court's powers and Mariano Rajoy has announced Spanish General Elections for December 20th.
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My week started with the brilliant CUP end of election event in Badalona last Friday. There were about 5,000 of us, I'd guess, in the amphitheatre of the Parc del Gran Sol and it was a brilliant mixture of humour, political speeches, music and video. Whilst putting across a very solid socialist message, the CUP really are the most modern of the so-called New Left parties in Europe.
On Saturday, my friend David McGowran arrived to cover the election weekend for independent Scottish broadcasters IndependenceLive.Net. In the evening we went to Sants where we'd arranged to introduce representatives of the SNP to people from the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, Junts pel Sí and the CUP. On Sunday we interviewed people at polling stations and also went to the Noi Baliarda CUP social centre in Sant Andreu.
The results were all in by midnight and showed a clear parliamentary majority for the pro-independence, who won 72 seats out of a possible 135, with 62 seats going to Junts pel Sí and 10 to CUP. As far as votes were concerned we polled 47.7%, which wasn't enough to win the plebiscite but as both Catalunya Sí que es Pot and Unió have said that they don't want their votes, which amount to between over 10%, to be counted against independence so we didn't lose it either.
The first big problem is going to be the investiture of Artur Mas as President of the Generalitat. Throughout the campaign, the CUP rather short-sightedly said they wouldn't vote for him, which means that Junts pel Sí only have 62 deputies in favour and if all the other parties decided to vote against, their 63 deputies could stop him from being president. I'm pretty sure that some kind of deal will be struck and CUP will either give their deputies a free vote or deputies from other parties will be mysteriously absent on voting day.
The Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya has called Artur Mas and ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega to appear and explain their involvement in the proxy referendum, literally a participative process, on November 9th 2014. The date of Artur Mas's hearing is October 15th, which is the 75th anniversary of the execution by Francoist firing squad of Lluís Companys, who was President of the Generalitat during the Spanish Civil War. The TSJC say the date is just a coincidence but you have to admit it's a rather unfortunate one.
Later in the week the PP push a reform of the powers of the Tribunal Constitucional through Congress. The Constitutional Court can now not only rule on constitutional matters but also take action against anyone who disobeys it. This means that even if the TSJC find Mas not guilty, the TC can suspend him as President for disobeying their ruling over 9-N.
On Friday Mariano Rajoy announced Spanish General Elections for December 20th so we've got an interesting 3 months ahead of us. I'm pretty certain that Rajoy and the PP are going set themselves up as Defenders of the Spanish Nation and attack Catalonia as part of their electoral campaign. It will be interesting to see how the other parties and the international community position themselves on the topic.