One of the main problems that most of the Spanish political elite has is failing to believe that a coup d’état was possible, and that it could prevail, a coup like the one instigated by the de facto powers from the Generalitat (1). A coup that, as if it wasn’t enough, not only is a blow to democracy but also an attempt to put an end to the State and the nation. By its very nature this is, as any other coup is, a breakage of the law. One cannot attempt a coup within the limits of the law, or a little bit inside and a little bit outside its limits.
It was a comfortable yet suicidal belief to think that what happened on October 1st was another show, alike to the 9-N (2) one, and that the following day, after venting the rage of the procés (3), one could go back to some kind of institutional normality. This belief has already been proven wrong by all that has been happening in the shameful Catalan parliamentary sessions from the beginning of September to today. It was a preposterous naivety to think that there was any trace of respect for democratic laws and sense of responsibility left in those squatting in the Government of Catalonia. In fact, maybe not completely preposterous as it was wilful blindness as well. It was closing our eyes to what it seemed unavoidable before October 1st: the fact that the State had to use all its legal and constitutional power, including the legitimate use of force, to stop the coup.
In Catalonia, we have a situation of dual power. This was clear weeks ago, and has become even clearer now. The still serving autonomous government is outside the law not only de jure but also de facto. Its disobedience to court orders has trespassed the line of sedition promoting the riotous occupation of so-called polling stations as well as the streets in an attempt to establish the control of the territory by the insurgent power.
A measure of their moral standards is found in the fact that they have encouraged the presence of grannies and children as human shields despite them knowing that force would have to be used to evacuate the polling stations. They also knew that the regional police force would not enforce the court rulings and hence would not close them down. It is this intervention (or lack of) by the Mossos (4), ordered by its officials, that aggravates the situation of a dual power.
One might think that after the events of October 1st the self-satisfying naivety was going to dissipate and that the wilful blindness would lead to a clearer if unpleasant view of what is at stake, and of the situations that we will have to face to avoid the promoters of the coup d’état imposing their power on the lawful and legitimate state. This is not the case.
There are politicians advocating for the dialogue with the coup leaders, therefore offering them a reward. There is a faction of the Government that believes in small favours to return to normal. Both groups of our political elites have a clear reticence to use the constitutional powers to avoid, at least, the Generalitatbeing used as the headquarters of the coup.
Unlike many people, I do not believe that having applied weeks ago article 155 could have saved us from the riots in the streets nor the attempt to celebrate a so-called referendum: in fact, a mass protest to declare the secession. By this I do not mean that article 155 shouldn’t had been applied. What I mean is that we should not be naive enough to think that the coup followers would abide by it. Moreover, if it was enforced now – it should be and as soon as possible – one must expect that Puigdemont and Junqueras do as they did with the court ruling regarding the 1-O (5). They will refuse to follow orders. Let’s be certain of this.
No, to enforce article 155 won’t be as easy as sending a document by fax. It will not be a matter of approving it and that’s it. However, the government and the main opposition party will have to enforce it if they do not want to go down in history as those who allowed a gang of corrupt fanatics to put an end to Spain as we know it. They must enforce its application. This will not be easy nor pleasant but if they do not do this it is the secession that will be enforced instead. I will add a note for PP and PSOE. Not that this should matter at all to the Spanish people but just in case it is of utmost importance for them: if worse comes to worse, these political parties and its leaders will not survive.
(1) Headquarters of the regional government of Catalonia under the current statute of autonomous region.
(2) 9-N: 9th November 2014, illegal referendum in Catalonia.
(3) Catalan for process. It is understood as referring to this process of independence.
(4) Regional Police Force in Catalonia
(5) 1-O: 1st October 2017, illegal referendum in Catalonia
*Originally published in Spanish with the title “Doble Poder” on 2nd October 2017 in: http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/cristina-losada/doble-poder-83319/