March 24, 2017
Now that the Catalan regional government has its budget with a line item to fund an independence referendum, one can expect from them one final push to try and convince Mariano Rajoy to negotiate the terms of a referendum in Catalonia. The Spanish government is unlikely to change its position that a constitutional referendum can only be held in the whole of Spain. We would then be in unilateral referendum territory. The Spanish government appears ready to use the constitutional court to first issue injunctions against unilateral actions by the Catalan government, and then suspend public officials that ignore these injunctions.
For this reason the Catalan association of municipalities for independence (AMI), of which the Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont is a past president, is already looking ahead at a situation where the Catalan government is unable to act on its promise to organise a referendum. It is also possible that the separatist majority in the Catalan parliament might be decimated by Spanish court actions. To prepare for these eventualities, the AMI last October promoted the creation of a Catalan assembly of elected officials, which would gather on a voluntary basis the over 9000 elected officials from Catalonia. The vague stated aim of this assembly is to be ready for the eventuality that there are obstacles to the referendum. The assembly, which gathered 2200 members in its first month, has over 2500 now, five months after its creation. This week, on the occasion of handing out the first ID cards to assembly members, the chair of the AIM said
"If there are obstacles and it cannot be done in the normal way, the assembly will be here to act and make possible what citizens have demanded of us. It would be negative to anticipate more details."
The subtext of all this is using the assembly to act instead of the regional parliament, to either organise a unilateral referendum, or issue a unilateral declaration of independence, Tennis-Court-Oath-style.
*(NOTE: From Eurointelligence, 24.03'2017)