Spain is a parliamentary monarchy and a socialist state despite the conservative party now in power. Mind you the conservative party never did win the majority of seats during two national elections.
The only political strategy I can imagine for the Civil Guard’s actions in Barcelona on October first – and this is no justification – is that Madrid’s government wishes to cause such disruption during voting that the referendum results cannot be called valid in the end. Again, means do not justify the end in this case.
And where is the king? His voice is noticeably absent during the police state operations in Catalunya.
After two national elections failed to determine a majority of seats in parliament, leaving Spain with uncertain leadership, the king carefully negotiated continuity and parliament agreed that the current president should remain the president of Spain.
I wonder how the king reflects upon this president’s, and his conservative party’s, extreme measures to disrupt the referendum vote in Catalunya.
And we are back to the question of democracy. Madrid holds that the Catalan referendum is not democratic because it is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Catalunya holds that any ballot process for its sovereignty is democratic.
Do the majority of voting Catalans wish to be a Republic? We will not know the answer based on this vote because the chaos brought on by the police intervention has been great (Madrid blames the Generalitat for forging ahead when told to stop).
Remember that Catalunya was a major stakeholder in Spain’s Second Republic, 1931-1936, and defended this Republic during the Civil War, 1936-1939. Historical memory does play a role in how citizens approach questions of identity, even ninety years later.
Catalunya lost the Civil War, then its identity was repressed and obscured during thirty six years of dictatorship. It became an autonomy, as did other regions in Spain, when the king’s father guided the Spanish transition to democracy, 1975-1982.
What will the king say about October 1, 2017? I am waiting on his word.