Más País, Podemos positions on Catalonia diverge

Carolina Bescansa & Más País candidates in Catalonia, Juanan Geraldes (L), Raimundo Viejo (R). Photo: EFE/El Confidencial
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► Más País rejects focus on Catalans’ ‘right to decide’ independence from Spain
► Policy shift away from Podemos, pro-independence parties prior to elections

Spain’s newest left-of-centre political party, Más País, has opted to draw a line in the sand with left-wing rivals Unidas Podemos on the question of whether or not Catalans should enjoy the “right to decide” in an referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

According to Spanish news reports, the Más País leadership decided on Sunday to come out against the celebration of a referendum on Catalan independence, designating as point-person in communicating the new party’s position its lead candidate in Galicia, the former congressional deputy for the Unidas Podemos coalition and Podemos co-founder, Carolina Bescansa.

Bescansa was purged from the Podemos leadership in October 2017, in part because of her open disagreement with party general secretary Pablo Iglesias over Podemos’ veiled support of the Catalan pro-independence movement through insistence on the notion of the Catalan people’s “right to decide” the future relationship of the region with Spain through an independence referendum.

► News Sources in Spanish: El Confidencial, 20minutos and El País …

Two years later, the right-to-decide policy is still endorsed by Iglesias and other Podemos leaders, and remains a part of Podemos’ electoral manifesto for contesting the upcoming 10th November general election — though party leaders are said to be intentionally soft-pedaling the issue in the wake of a week of violent protest in Catalonia by pro-independence demonstrators.

On Monday, Bescansa attempted to clarify her new party’s position, publicly calling for an end to the procés roadmap for secession from Spain being pushed by pro-independence parties currently holding the governing majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament, “because you cannot permanently feed a situation that leads to a social fracture like the one that exists in Catalonia.”

She said it was a mistake, in the current situation of “social, cultural and emotional fracture” in Catalonia, for Spanish politicians to be focusing on whether or not the people of Catalonia have the right to decide by referendum whether or not they can secede from Spain. Instead, Bescansa said, Spain’s political parties should be embarking on a national process of mutually agreed constitutional reform to remake Spain into a “federated republic”, giving greater power to all Spain’s 17 autonomous regions and providing a far-ranging, constitutional solution to the question of the relationship of Spain’s regional communities with the central government in Madrid.

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