Jordi Sànchez, General Secretary of Junts per Catalunya, will be 57 years old on October 1. “Ironies of destiny”, he says in reference to the date of the referendum in 2017, declared illegal and that ended up taking him to prison. Sentenced to nine years for sedition, the Government of Pedro Sánchez has just pardoned him like the rest of the independence leaders. He says that jail is already far away.
Question. He entered jail as an activist and comes out as a politician. Do you do it with more doubts or more certainties?
Answer. I had doubts when I entered and now that I have left as general secretary of the Junts. Bad if in doubt. The policy is not limited to the institution.
P. In Catalonia there are many people who believe that you are a man of the left, but today you are a neo-convergent soldier.
R. I would discuss the soldier and the neo-convergent. I feel on the left. Junts has plural sensibilities, it is a progressive force. We have to be looked at by what we do in housing or environmental policies and not by how we are pigeonholed.
P. Well, they have chosen Jaume Giró as Minister of Economy, who has been a senior leader of La Caixa.
R. Yes, and it will show when you can budget that social sensitivity.
P. Has Giró been key to promoting the fund to cover the guarantees required by the Court of Accounts?
R. He has contributed determination and common sense to lead a proposal, technically very good, which should allow that there are no obstacles for the court to accept the guarantees.
P. The Government is considering filing an unconstitutionality appeal against this fund.
R. It is not unconstitutional nor does it violate any principle of legality for a bank to endorse public workers when there is no sentence, open procedure or the parties have not been heard. The decree also gives the solidarity fund more time to raise funds.
P. The Government promotes a counter endorsement. Can’t it lead to being accused of embezzlement? Where do the 10 million come from?
R. I have not gone into detail. I have no doubt that it will be done according to the law. The important thing is that the decree stops the embargo.
P. Giró says that the fund opens a space of freedom to continue exercising politics. Are you preparing for a new process?
R. They are different things: it is clear that we are preparing to gain independence, but this fund seeks to preserve the integrity of people who have acted in accordance with the law. There is a biased and politicized court that persecutes them for actions that neither the Constitutional Court nor any judicial body declared inadmissible. The moral obligation of the Government is to defend them when their houses and pensions may be seized. It is a supervisory function more typical of the Inquisition than of a democratic State.
P. Are you planning something?
P. Has the Junts pressured the Government to approve the endorsement because the party does not have enough money?
R. No. Junts does not pressure the Government: Junts is the Government and has served as such. It has nothing to do with the situation of Junts, which is a new party without resources but without debt.
P. The dialogue table between governments will meet in September. Is the performance of the Court of Auditors an obstacle?
R. No, it is not tied. I am not one of those who believes that the Court of Accounts is an instrument of the Government. I do believe that in the State there is a struggle between different powers. I am very clear and it is evident that this court and the Supreme Court on more than one occasion have acted to hinder certain positions of the Government [de Cataluña]. The action of the Court of Accounts erodes the confidence of the independence movement in the State, but if Pedro Sánchez has the will to address the conflict, he must put instruments.
P. The State Bar has withdrawn as you requested. It’s enough?
R. It would be time to renew the court and it depends on a majority of Congress. Many of the members have their mandate expired. It is blocked by the PP, but it is necessary to overcome this stage. It is time for state institutions to stop being ideological outposts against independence.
“I do not value or detract from pardons but they do not resolve the conflict”
P. Why was it so difficult for Junts to accept that he had lost the elections to ERC? Get along?
R. We get along as well as the Socialist Party and Podemos. Government partners never forget that they rival their constituencies, but they have a commitment. The government pact between the Junts and ERC is solid and the legislative pact between the Junts, ERC and CUP, too.
P. The CUP gives this Government two years before Pere Aragonès submits to a question of trust. Junts too?
R. No, we work with a four-year, run-out mentality.
P. The CUP wants to promote another unilateral referendum if there is no pact. Do you agree?
R. For Junts, the new referendum is either agreed and binding or we already have the 1-O mandate. If the negotiation does not work, we will not sit idly by.
P. Junts and ERC ask for the same thing: referendum and amnesty. And the government rejects it. Are we in an infinite loop?
R. I do not know if it is a loop, but it is a conflict that we want to resolve in a democratic, dialogue and determined way. The Council of Europe has been very clear: it points to the need to end the repression and find ways to resolve the conflict. It is a question of political will: the same majority that the Pedro Sánchez government allowed could make the amnesty possible. Spain could accept the European immunity of MEPs like Puigdemont. It would not be necessary to reform the crime of sedition.
P. Would you like to be at the dialogue table?
R. I don’t think it’s my space or my role. There is a risk that the table is just a photo.
“We get along as well with Esquerra as the PSOE with Podemos”
P. He does not trust the Government, but it has pardoned him. Doesn’t it give you the benefit of the doubt?
R. Let’s not fool ourselves. We have been pardoned for some interest calculations after the decision of the Council of Europe and before the arrival of the first writings in the European Court of Human Rights. If the Government had wanted to pardon, it could have done so a year ago. I do not value or detract from pardons but they do not resolve the conflict.
P. And for its part, what does the Government do? You insist that you do not regret anything.
R. What do I have to regret? To call a demonstration against a judicial decision? Of getting into a Civil Guard car? The same court says that it is not a crime. Of having defended going to the polls without violence? Do I have to regret being pro-independence when the same court says that my ideology is not judged? No one has told me what I have to regret. The one who should regret having sentenced me to nine years and depriving me 1,350 days of liberty is the Prosecutor’s Office that accused me and the court that convicted me.
P. Perhaps his mistake is to start all this with 52% of the support of society.
R. Surely, majorities are never enough … neither is the 48%. Table [de diálogo para Cataluña] Will it provide us with solutions? I do not know. It is an opportunity, for us it will not remain. But the Spanish State has yet to show us that it is willing to undertake a negotiation.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.