Today is the perfect day for this analysis, looking back into what 2009 has brought to Catalonia and what 2010 might mean. 2009 has been the year that marked a turning point since the broad realisation amongst Catalans that being a Spanish Autonomous Community can’t fulfil Catalonia’s needs.
Zapatero’s broken promises have showed the Catalans that they can’t look for friends amongst the Spanish governments and that Spain is only interested in Catalonia when it comes to tax collection. The year started with the March the 7th demonstration of 10000 Catalans in Brussels to defend the right to self determination. On April the 25th the Catalan Parliament rejected an ILP (popular legislative initiative) to organize a referendum about the independence of Catalonia, they did it again in December which showed that traditional Catalan parties are unable to lead society beyond the current situation.
As a result of this on April the 27th Joan Carretero left ERC and announced that Reagrupament will create a candidacy for the next elections to the Catalan Parliament with two main points in their programme: independence and political regeneration.
September the 13th, Arenys de Munt organized the first referendum of independence showing 96% support to independence, this started a process that had as a second round the 13D votings in 166 Catalan villages and cities that showed again 95% of votes support independence. In the meantime, several polls have shown a step change in support to independence making it the dominant option amongst Catalan society.
A little but important note, Barça became during 2009 the best team in the history of football and they’ve achieved that at the time when they have been more Catalan and openly independentist than ever. Its president, Joan Laporta, will leave its presidency next year and it’s been speculated that he could jump into politics and since he’s openly independentist and polls show that he’d have broad support amongst voters it’s likely that he’ll be a crucial factor in the next election.
A few notes on what 2010 might bring
- The referendums process will continue on February the 28th and April the 25th and a referendum in Barcelona that will likely take place next fall
- Another demonstration is scheduled in Geneva on May the 8th
- The Spanish Constitutional Court will pass a sentence about the Catalan Statute that, as rumours say, will deactivate the definition of Catalonia as a nation claiming that the only nation is Spain, amongst other things, something that will surely have an impact on the Catalan public opinion since the Catalan Statute was already approved by the Spanish Parliament and the Catalans in a referendum.
- Finally, in autumn there will be elections to the Catalan Parliament. This year the debate will be centered on the sovereignty topic and will force all parties to define themselves on their attitude towards the right of self determination. Surely, after the elections a very different balance of powers will be defined, probably paving the way for a coalition to organize a binding referendum of independence within the next term or a declaration of independence from the Parliament.