News & Politics

Catalan Ex-President Puigdemont Demands Spain Recognize Election Results

(AP Photo/ Emilio Morenatti)

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has called on the Spanish government to finally and officially recognize last month’s election results in Catalonia.

From his safe haven in Brussels, the city where he’s hiding from the tyrannical Madrid government, Puigdemont said that the regional government, which was disposed of by the Spanish government, has to be reinstated. And yes, he wants to once again lead his people (to independence). “What is Prime Minister Rajoy waiting for to acknowledge the result?” Puigdemont asked out loud on Old Year’s Day.

The answer, of course, is that Rajoy is simply hoping and praying that this problem disappears all by itself. He wants to prolong possible negotiations, hoping that this will eventually enable him to ignore the election results altogether. Rajoy plans to bring pro-unity party Ciudadanos and its leader Inés Arrimadas to power.

It’s now time for the international community — and especially for the European Union — to force Madrid to take the Catalonian election results seriously and to abide by them. All EU countries have signed the UN treaties guaranteeing people “the right to self-determination.” And the EU presidency has emphasized this right several times, describing it as one of the most fundamental rights “peoples” have:

The right of peoples to self-determination features prominently in the main instruments concerning human rights, such as the United Nations Charter or the two International Covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights respectively.

As the United Nations Charter points out, the development of good relations between nations must be founded on the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. This right has lost none of its relevance in the present international context and continues to claim the attention of the international community as an integral part of those human rights the observance and protection of which must be ensured by States.

This right, in accordance with which peoples freely determine their own political status and freely provide for their own economic, social and cultural development, illustrates clearly the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights recognized at the Vienna Conference on Human Rights in 1993. Making this right a reality requires full observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on the part of States.

That’s an official statement from the EU presidency on the right to self-determination. It was followed up by:

For this right to be effectively applied, a number of conditions need to be fulfilled. Freedom of expression and of opinion must be guaranteed to allow all individuals to debate public affairs and express themselves freely on the choices made by the State. Freedom of conscience and of religion must be ensured. And the importance of free and independent media becomes evident here. The opportunity to participate freely and fully in public life is also indispensable for the exercise of this right.

A further expression of the right of peoples to self-determination is the holding of free, regular and fair elections, which within the framework of a democratic society allow a country’s nationals to follow and support the action of the political institutions mandated by them to manage their interests and provide for public welfare. In this respect, each individual must be able to benefit from the right to assemble with others to defend his or her convictions.


With this in view, the European Union reiterates the importance of promoting and reinforcing the proper management of public affairs, democracy and the rule of law throughout the world. The process of democratization is an essential stage in the recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination.

“Democratization” — like free and fair elections? “The rule of law” — like not beating up people who want to exercise their freedom to vote? You’d think so, but for some reason, the EU has yet to back Puigdemont and his pro-independence party.

It’s time for the EU to live up to its own lofty ideals. And if the European Union isn’t willing to do so, perhaps they should stop pretending to believe in those high-minded principles and start admitting what many have believed to be true for decades anyway: that those “ideals” are nothing more than Machiavellian tools to tell other (non-European!) nations what they can and cannot do.