Before the general elections, the Popular Party clearly recognized that the independence conflict in Catalonia had subsided in recent years and assumed that this explained a good part of their growing and hopeful electoral expectations. Thus, even though he was reluctant to recognize any success in the policies of the Government – now in office – Alberto Núñez Feijóo came to accept that the PP had made “mistakes”; From its dome attempts were made to approach Junts; and he himself put on the table his willingness to seek a “new territorial fit” for Catalonia.
The popular They staged a twist in the script against Catalan nationalism and independence that they have begun to amend to raise the cost of the negotiations for Pedro Sánchez. The tone has risen again.
Immersed in a new roadmap and with more than assumed the role of opposition, Feijóo assured this Monday that the “nationalisms” with which the socialist leader talks for his investiture – some of which the popular ones also tried without success – “they take us towards the Middle Ages or towards a horizon similar to that of the Balkans”. The Balkan war, in which the ethnic and religious factor was fundamental, has been one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. It is estimated that there are around 98,000 dead and one million displaced in a systematic ethnic cleansing with massacres, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At the end of the day, Feijóo tried to redirect his statements. “The fact that politics is balkanized, that the unity of a country is broken and that we become kingdoms of taifas is what I have said and what I have tried to say. Trying to say that this has to do with a conflict is twisting to the maximum, which in no case have I wanted to convey to citizens,” he assured.
“Catalanization” of politics
Hours before his attempt at this clarification attempt, the deputy secretary of Culture and Open Society of the PP and, at times, de facto spokesperson, Borja Semper, asked about it, distanced himself from the comparison by assuring that he had not listened to Feijóo. But he added: “I am very concerned about the ‘Catalanization’ of Spanish politics.”
Sémper recovered the hard arguments of the popular ones with respect to Catalonia and warned of a “serious risk” that polarization “contaminates” Spanish society by attacking nationalisms, in general, which, he says, seek tension and “purity”. For weeks, Feijóo actively and passively tried to get the votes of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) for his investiture.
The PP has been riding on its own contradictions for weeks and that is why Sémper also dodged questions about the inconsistencies around the relationship with Junts. Less than two months ago, Esteban González Ponsvice-secretary of Institutional Affairs of the PP and person of Núñez Feijóo’s maximum confidence, made a threat of approaching Junts – the same independence party that they now compare with some of the actors in the Balkan war – recognizing that its “tradition and legality are not in doubt.”
The undenied meeting between Pons and Turull
For a few days they recognized the party chaired by Carles Puigdmont as a valid interlocutor, but internal pressures twisted Génova’s arm and they mended themselves. But the Feijóo leadership’s strategy of knocking on the door of the Catalan independence movement went far, according to some media outlets that point to a meeting between Pons and Jordi Turull, general secretary of Junts. The PP does not forcefully deny the meeting and throws things out.
Furthermore, different popular leaders have recovered one of the most common mantras of the right with respect to Catalonia: that of economic “privileges”. From the territories governed by the PP, and also from Genoa, they already point out that the PSOE’s negotiation with the Catalan independence forces is going to be detrimental to the rest of the autonomous communities. Beyond the amnesty, the regional leaders are willing to fight against a possible pact that would once again give the key to La Moncloa to Sánchez, reviving the echoes of the most critical moments of the conflict in Catalonia.