Basque Bildu party leader Arnaldo Otegi and Ana Pontón of Galicia’s BNG call for mobilization and the vote for Esquerra to prevent the Spanish parties that voted for suspension of Catalonia’s home rule from halting the independence process
With a week to go before the parliamentary elections, Esquerra Republicana has called for mobilization, voiced by party president Oriol Junqueras, who in a very emotional speech asked the Catalans: “I beg you to fill the ballot boxes with ERC slips on February 14, with dignity, freedom, Republic, amnesty and self-determination, and make victory possible for us to lead to the greatest of triumphs.” Mr Junqueras, a historian and professor, recalled the victory of Esquerra in 1936 that led to amnesty of those then held prisoners by Spain, amongst which the President of the Catalan Generalitat government, Lluís Companys.
Mr Junqueras went on to say that “this country deserves everything and needs everything.” “We are here to give you everything, even our freedom. We will always be here, we will never give up,” he added.
Esquerra’s candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès addressed those doubting: “All those who still have doubts and are thinking that, if they were there on October 1 for the referendum for independence, whether they need to be there on the 14 of February. Well, of course they have to be there.” The top candidate on Esquerra’s ticket reiterated that it was necessary to vote to stop those who voted for article 155, referring to the Spanish parties that approved the suspension of Catalonia’s home rule in 2017 under article 155 of the constitution: “They can only win if we don’t go and vote. Let no pro-independence voter stay home, we must fill the ballot boxes with Esquerra votes.”
We know the repressive measures well, we have experienced them. That is why, if Catalan socialist party PSC sums, it will join all those who do not want the Catalan Republic.Arnaldo Otegi General Coordinator of Basque party EH Bildu
Esquerra Republicana’s Secretary General Marta Rovira spoke forcefully, live from her exile in Geneva: “When we declare the Catalan Republic again, we don’t want it to last 8 seconds, or a few hours or days. We want the Republic to be for life. And to achieve that, there are no magic spells; we have to work to be many more.” Ms Rovira also explained that next Sunday “we must show that we are still standing, with our conviction intact, that to build a Republic is to be at the side of the people. We must all mobilize on February 14 and make the ballots speak of Republic, of hope and freedom.”
The General Coordinator of Basque party EH Bildu, Arnaldo Otegi emphasized the repression of the Spanish state, of the parties of article 155. “We know the repressive measures well, we have experienced them. That is why, if Catalan socialist party PSC sums, it will join all those who do not want the Catalan Republic.” Mr Otegi also appealed to historical responsibility: “Many things are at stake. History must be pushed towards the path of freedom and equality, and that is why we must be there on February 14, because if we are not there, they will be.”
In a similar vein, Bloque Nacionalista Galego–BNG national spokesperson, Ana Pontón said live from Galicia that the elections on February 14 are not just another election: “On February 14 it will be about democracy and the future, it will be about dignity, it will be about defeating those who believe they can imprison or banish the will of a people to be free.”
For her part, the lead candidate for Girona, Catalan minister Teresa Jordà said that it was “essential” that Esquerra Republicana win on 14 February: “If not, the worst minister in the European Union, sent packing via Amazon to us from Madrid, will win.” Ms Jordà recalled that the Catalan socialist PSC candidates are the Spanish socialist PSOE candidates, those who “condemn the young to the precariat, those who won’t revoke the gag law, those who pass tax amnesties for the rich and who applaud the corruption of the Royal family,” she added.
Former minister Dolors Bassa, now a political prisoner, also took part in the campaign’s main event, thanking the people for their support, those who demonstrate every week for the release of the political prisoners. Ms Bassa quoted President Companys in calling for mobilization: “Let us be aware at this grave and glorious hour—as President Companys said—that at this historic moment the country needs us. It needs us to have a strong Government and for the people to have what they deserve: social justice, freedom and self-determination,” and concluded her speech with a rousing “To victory for freedom! Long live Catalonia!”
The candidate for Barcelona and Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia Roger Torrent emphasised the anti-fascism of Esquerra Republicana: “We are unrenounceably anti-fascist, without nuances, without cracks. That’s what these elections are also about, whether it is those of us who face fascism, or if it is those who are willing to take the votes of the far right in order to win. We will not allow it. This Sunday we must go out to vote en masse and prevent anyone from reaching the Catalan Generalitat government with the votes of the far right.