Fake Country Carved From Catalonia Means to Mock Separatism

The Tabàrnia initiative went viral on social media shortly after Dec. 21, when Catalonia’s separatist events retained their slim parliamentary majority, profitable 70 of the 135 seats within the Catalan Parliament, in a snap election referred to as by Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister.

A information convention in Barcelona this month with officers of Tabàrnia, a fictitious land created and promoted by folks opposed to Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Quique Garcia/European Pressphoto Agency

While the vote was a setback for Mr. Rajoy, whose personal Popular Party completed final within the regional election, it additionally confirmed the cut up inside Catalan society and left the separatist events with an uphill wrestle to type a brand new authorities.

On Tuesday, Catalan lawmakers are to resolve whether or not to re-elect Carles Puigdemont as president. He was faraway from workplace by Mr. Rajoy in October, after he and different separatist lawmakers declared unilateral independence. Mr. Puigdemont then left for Belgium and has since refused to return to Spain to face prosecution for revolt.

Mr. Rajoy’s authorities is relying on Spain’s judiciary to cease Mr. Puigdemont’s political return. Should Mr. Puigdemont be re-elected, Mr. Rajoy warned that he may prolong Madrid’s direct rule over Catalonia, utilizing the identical emergency powers that compelled Mr. Puigdemont’s ouster three months in the past.

On Saturday night, members of Spain’s Constitutional Court voted unanimously that Mr. Puigdemont would want to seem in particular person within the Catalan Parliament to be sworn in.

While the separatist lawmakers are struggling to type a brand new authorities with out incurring extra sanctions from Madrid, Tabàrnia’s mock president, Albert Boadella, was elected unopposed.

In the waning years of the Franco dictatorship, Mr. Boadella was a co-founder of Els Joglars, a theater firm that used mime and comedy to problem censorship underneath Franco’s regime. Since 2006, nevertheless, Mr. Boadella has refused to produce a play in Catalonia, after struggling what he referred to as a marketing campaign of hatred for serving to launch Ciudadanos, or Citizens, a staunchly anti-secession occasion that has grown right into a nationwide political pressure.

Albert Boadella, left, is Tabàrnia’s mock president.

Res Features, by way of Associated Press

In the December vote in Catalonia, Ciudadanos gained 1 / 4 of the votes, making it the biggest single occasion within the Catalan meeting. But Ciudadanos is main the opposition, not making an attempt to type a authorities, as a result of the three separatist events gained a mixed 47.5 % of the vote, sufficient to give them a majority, underneath a voting system that favors their dominance in rural areas.

Mr. Boadella accuses the separatists of pushing Catalonia towards “the most absolute ruin.” He is starting his mock time period as president of Tabàrnia in a self-imposed exile as a result of “this territory has become insufferable for the lovers of liberty and good humor.”

Even if Tabàrnia is a lighthearted pushback in opposition to the separatists, Mr. López Alegre famous that the Spanish Constitution, which forbids unilateral secession, does permit the creation of recent autonomous areas.

And whereas Tabàrnia highlights the opposition to secession in and round two of Catalonia’s largest cities, residents of the Val d’Aran, a tiny mountainous group alongside the border between France and Catalonia, have additionally been warning that they may break free if Catalonia seceded from Spain.

Pere Rusiñol, a co-founder of Mongolia, of political satire, sees Tabàrnia as “an interesting provocation to underline the contradictions of Catalan nationalism.” But if Tabàrnia ever turned a severe political undertaking, there could possibly be “a real danger of Balkanization,” he mentioned, even maybe just like the violent breakup of the previous Yugoslavia. “What is a game would then look scary,” Mr. Rusiñol warned.

For the separatists, nevertheless, Tabàrnia is an irrelevant case of bitter grapes, coming after an election that failed to yield the decisive blow to Catalonia’s independence motion that Mr. Rajoy had anticipated. Tabàrnia is one thing like Peter Pan’s “Neverland” for the unionists, mentioned Salvador Garcia Ruiz, the chief government of Ara, a pro-independence newspaper.

Carles Puigdemont at a information convention this month in Copenhagen. On Tuesday, Catalan lawmakers are to resolve whether or not to re-elect Mr. Puigdemont as president of Catalonia.

Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The territorial tensions inside Catalonia, he added, are manageable and comparable to these provoked by different heated political debates, like Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union or the election of President Trump within the United States. “In democratic countries, such differences are resolved at the ballot boxes,” Mr. Garcia Ruiz mentioned.

Tabàrnia’s theoretical borders would comprise two-thirds of Catalonia’s 7.5 million residents. Unlike the Catalan republic that Mr. Puigdemont and different separatists need, Tabàrnia would swear allegiance to the Spanish monarch, Felipe VI, whereas utilizing its personal flag and coat of arms.

Tabàrnia is a parody, however one which feeds into the controversy raised by the Catalan independence motion over “the limits of the principle of self-determination,” mentioned Manuel Muñiz, the dean of the varsity of worldwide relations at IE University in Madrid.

The mock territory raises the problem of “who is to vote and when” inside a democratic system, Mr. Muñiz mentioned. “Are regions the ones entitled to decide on their independence or would cities also qualify? Or should it be neighborhoods within cities?”

Similar questions, Mr. Muñiz mentioned, may apply to “Scotland, London and other constituent parts of the U.K. once a slim majority of Brits took the decision to leave the E.U.”

Pablo Iglesias, the chief of Podemos, Spain’s far-left occasion, lately criticized the promoters of Tabàrnia for fueling a “war of flags” that he mentioned helps neither Spaniards nor Catalans.

But Mr. López Alegre, the spokesman, mentioned the purpose was by no means to fragment Catalonia itself, however as a substitute to strive to finish what he sees as a disruptive chapter of Catalan secessionism.

Tabàrnia has its personal flag and symbols. “Acta est fabula,” the Latin saying for the “play is over,” is the motto on its coat of arms.

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