Monday, October 19, 2009

Puigcercós culminates his proclamation as candidate by climbing Mt. Puigmal

He says that after the elections, Esquerra will only make pacts with those who want Catalonia to have its own state

The president of Esquerra and candidate for the elections of 2010, Joan Puigcercós, made it to the top of Mount Puigmal, the highest mountain in Ripoll County at 2,913 meters above sea level, in a symbolic gesture which he topped off with the proclamation of his candidacy. The expedition, made up of a hundred leaders, politicians, party members, family members and journalists, took about three hours from the Vall of Núria to get to the top of the mountain.

From the summit of Mt. Puigmal, at 2,913 meters, Puigcercós said that ERC will only make pacts with those who are willing to take "a step forward" toward the "construction of a Catalan State". A day after he situated the exercise of the right to decide on independence in the next legislature, he climbed Mt. Puigmal with his family and a hundred party members, some of them from the national executive. He climbed the summit as a "metaphor" for the effort that will be needed to achieve independence: "Everyone came make it to the top of Mt. Puigmal if they set themselves to do it. This country could be independent if we set ourselves to the task."

Upon reaching the summit of Mt. Puigmal, Puigcercós planted the starred Catalan flag at the top, and then photographs were taken of all those who wanted to accompany him in the gesture. Among the people with him were his wife and two sons, the leader of ERC in Barcelona, Jordi Portabella, the exvice-secretary general Eduard Lópex, the representatives, Pere Bosch and Pere Aragonés, the national spokesperson for Joventuts d'ERC (JERC), Gerard Coca, among others, and the Catalan mountainclimber Xavier Arias, expert in ascending the tallest mountains, including Mt. Everest. There were cries of "Free Catalonia" and they sang "Els Segadors"*. Puigcercós encouraged everyone to make a big effort to climb another mountain, that of independence. Not present, in contrast, were the General Secretary of the formation, Joan Ridao, nor anyone in the inner circle of the Vicepresident of the Government, Josep Lluís Carod-Rovira.

With the events of this weekend in Núria, Esquerra has completed the transfer of the candidacy to the presidency of the Generalitat. In April, Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira renounced his candidacy in favor of Joan Puigcercós; ten days ago it was reported that the president of the party had communicated to Carod that he would not be included in the lists, and yesterday Puigcercós was proclaimed the candidate by 94% of the national councilpeople and announced that the right to decide would be the "vital axis" of the party. He did so in a speech (pdf) in which Carod was present, just before his trip to New York to give a conference as councilor of the Vice-presidency.

In the National Council, which met yesterday in Núria, all of the members of Esquerra in the Government were present, including Carod-Rovira, and also the president of Parliament, Ernest Benach. Puigcercós overwhelming victory, with 145 votes in favor, 9 blanks and none against, can be interpreted as a blessing from the National Council on the exclusion of Carod from the Republican lists.

Facing these leaders, and 600 additional people present, Puigcercós, already proclaimed the candidate, made a more solemn speech, remembering throughout the legacy of Presidents Francesc Macià and Lluís Companys. He said that he was taking on the electoral leadership of Esquerra with "honor, humility and responsibility" and with appreciation for those who have managed autonomy in the last thirty years, but with the conviction, he said, that it is necessary to begin a "new era" that sets "new horizons".

The right to decide, a "vital focal point of the party"

"We have placed the right to decide at the center of the political discourse," he declared. According to what he said, in the next legislature, "we Catalans have to be able to exercise the right to decide, to decide about our liberty and to decide about our independence. We have to be able to decide what we want to be, that is a democratic right. And it has to be an important focal point for us, next to social justice and a change in the economic paradigm."

Puigcercós, who claims that ERC is the "motor of change" for Catalonia, defended the historic social conquests driven by Republicans, and he defended politics as "the only valid instrument in democracy" because "the absence of politics is demagoguery"; politics as a tool "by those who defend its honor" to combat "corruption and the corrupted". "The right doesn't politics: it has the economic power, the media power, and other strategic powers" that "normal people will never have" he said. And he considered that ERC had been successful in keeping the defense of the economic accord and the criticisms of the fiscal deficit at the center of the political debate and that independentism has stayed pragmatic and non-extremist.

Originally published in VilaWeb on 18 Oct 2009 11:57h

Translation Notes

*"Els Segadors" is the Catalan National Anthem

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