The effectes of further decentralization processes on nationalist movements: the case of Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

The effectes of further decentralization processes on nationalist movements: the case of Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute



Treball de final del màster MSC Nationalism Studies of University of Edinburgh. Author: Lluc Salellas i Vilar. Submitted: August 2010.

Treball de final del màster MSC Nationalism Studies of University of Edinburgh. Author: Lluc Salellas i Vilar. Submitted: August 2010.



Total Views
Slideshare-icon Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



1 Embed 433 433


Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    The effectes of further decentralization processes on nationalist movements: the case of Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute The effectes of further decentralization processes on nationalist movements: the case of Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute Document Transcript

    • Exam.No.7159947 The effects of further decentralization processes on nationalist movements: the case of Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute Exam.No. 7159947 Dissertation words:14689 Msc in Nationalism Studies 1
    • Exam.No.7159947 Abstract Further decentralization processes have become increasingly important as regional claims and stateless nationalist movements within European states have increased in the last decades. In fact, they have become central elements in day-to-day politics in multilevel countries such us the United Kingdom, Spain or Canada. At the beginning of the 21st century, after 25 years of devolution, Catalan and Basque parliaments passed two laws to achieve further devolution which, later on, were rejected by Spanish institutions. This paper conducts an examination of whether these two specific further decentralization processes, namely Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute, have had effects on Basque and Catalan nationalist movements. In so doing, it contends a description of Catalan and Basque nationalism as well as an analysis of the evolution of constitutional preferences, nationalist discourses and political parties results within both stateless nations in the last decade. Our findings suggest that how further devolution processes are set up is a central element to determine how these processes might influence nationalist movements in the near future. Keywords: stateless nations, devolution, Catalonia, the Basque Country, self-government 2
    • Exam.No.7159947 1. Introduction...................................................................................................................................Pag 4 2. Catalan and Basque nationalism and Spanish history.........................................................Pag 9 2.1 Historical episodes and nationalist attitudes in the Basque Country and Catalonia..............Pag 10 2.2 Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute................................................................Pag 11 2.2.1. Ibarretxe Plan......................................................................................................................................Pag 13 2.2.2. The Calan Statute................................................................................................................................Pag 14 2.3. Conclusions...................................................................................................................................Pag 15 3. Catalan and Basque constitutional preferences in the light of survey data.........................Pag 17 3.1 Ibarretxe Plan.................................................................................................................................Pag 17 3.2 Catalan Statute...............................................................................................................................Pag 18 3.3 Constitutional preferences...........................................................................................................Pag 19 3.3.1 Constitutional preferences in the Basque Country (2001-2010)......................................................Pag 19 3.3.2 Constitutional preferences in Catalonia (2001-2010)........................................................................Pag 21 3.4 Conclusions....................................................................................................................................Pag 23 4. Discourses, manifestos and their evolution within Basque and Catalan nationalism.........Pag 24 4.1 The Basque Country: stop and go...................................................................................................Pag 24 4.2 Catalonia: setting secession as a daily political issue..................................................................Pag 26 4.3 Conclusions.......................................................................................................................................Pag 27 5. Elections and Basque and Catalan nationalist political parties (2001-2010)...........................Pag 28 5.1 Basque Country (2001-2010): State-wide political parties reach the power.................................Pag 28 5.2 Catalonia (2001-2010): a decade of Catalanist left-wing coalition rule.........................................Pag 31 5.3 Conclusions........................................................................................................................................Pag 33 6. Conclusions..............................................................................................................................................Pag 35 6.1 Final conclusions................................................................................................................................Pag 37 7. References................................................................................................................................................Pag 40 3
    • Exam.No.7159947 Article 2: The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible country of all Spaniards, and recognises and guarantees the right to selfgovernment of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and solidarity amongst them all. (Spanish Constitution, 1978) The continuity –as opposed to its uniformity or its abstract eternity-- of Catalan identity is undeniable. (Pierre Vilar, historian, 1981) Very rigid materials are more easily broken than bent. (Jordi Muñoz, political scientist 2010) 1. Introduction ‘La Patum’ is one of the oldest and most important celebrations in Catalonia. This popular festival, which has been labelled a world heritage event by UNESCO, is celebrated in a small town each year in Corpus Christi. However, in 2010, La Patum was not only a cultural festival, but also a political event. Thus, most people gathering under the city hall’s balcony where local and national politicians were sitting, chanted political slogans. They chanted slogans in support of independence for Catalonia and they accused some politicians of being botiflers (traitors). That night, the Catalan television channel broadcasted a documentary exploring Catalan secession as an opportunity to improve life’s quality among Catalans. That program, called Adéu Espanya (Good Bye Spain), was the first one in Spanish history where political analysts openly talked in a public television channel about the future of Catalonia as an independent state. The program’s broadcast had one of the highest audience ratings for the Catalan television channel in the last few months. Actually, this fact has been recently used to demonstrate that nowadays Catalans have secession on their political agenda. Similarly ,the Basque Country1 seems to be fated to live with the Constitutional issue in its day-to-day politics (Keating, M. and Wilson, A. 2009: 556). For instance, in June 2010, the left-wing separatist movement announced their intention to create a new and unitary political organization to fight for the independence of the Basque Country. According to its leaders, this new political entity will become the platform from where the Basque left-wing secessionist movement would also reject any violent action commited by ETA, the Basque armed group, for the first time. Moreover, one week later, the PNV, the moderate Basque nationalist political party, put forward its new political proposal arguing for the amendment of the Basque Autonnomous Statute in order to achieve further devolution to the Basque Country. Theoretical discourse on this issue argues that plurinational democracies are those states which contain two or more internal nations that are constanly looking for their political accommodation within constitutional rules such as Spain or the United Kingdom (Requejo, F. 2010: 151). Some believe that devolution processes that 1 In this text, I will refer to the Basque Country and to Catalonia as the current Autonomous Communities although these terms can be also applied to refer to broader territories that sometimes are also included within ‘national territories’ for both nationalist movements. 4
    • Exam.No.7159947 plurinational states initiated some years ago have watered down secessionist movements in stateless nations (Guibernau, M. 2010: 31). They argue that those processes have accommodated national minorities within state dynamics. Similarly, they say that these political changes have involved regional elites in the state’s political and economical structure. However, there is also a general agreement among Western scholars that Catalans and Basques have an open attitude to the meaning of self-determination (Keating, M and Bray, Z. 2006: 353). In fact, in my point of view, it would be worth knowing whether this open attitude towards concepts such as selfdetermination or stateless nations has led to an increasing support for the secession of Catalonia and the Basque Country. By focusing on the Spanish case, I wish to draw attention to why Catalans and Basques are not fully satisfied and they still claim for further decentralization processes (Requejo, F. 2000; Keating, M. 2000 quoted in Guibernau, M. 2006: 62), even for independence, although their institutions have a high degree of selfgovernment. Furthermore, could we say that state and central policies have shaped peripherical national movements in both territories? Are the political elites of these nationalist movements really changing their discourse in order to consider self-determination as the only solution? The aim of this paper is to answer some of these questions. I attempt to examine how the processes that Catalan and Basque nationalism movements endorsed to achieve further decentralization at the beginning of the 21th century, as well as the negative responses given by most of the Spanish political actors and institutions 2, have affected both nationalism movements. The view taken here considers the following hypothesis: the revision of the Statutes of autonomy, “organic laws” that contain the characteristics of state decentralization in Spain (Orte, A. And Wilson, A. 2009: 415), have influenced Catalan nationalism more than the Basque one at least in two aspects. First, while Catalan nationalism might have shifted to considering secession as a suitable political option, Basque nationalism does not appear to have taken any significant step in the last ten years. In that sense, it should be noticied that, unlike Catalanist organizations, Basque nationalist organizations have already supported Basque independece for a few decades. In other words, the failure of Ibarretxe Plan, which involved the creation of a Basque state freely associated with Spain (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006:347), has not led the Basque nationalist movement to a new political path beyond the idea that secession is a suitable political option. Second, it seems reasonable to assume that, despite being very different in their origins (see Díez Medrano, J. 1999 and Conversi, D. 1997), strategies of nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country might be converging nowadays. This paper is divided in four sections in which there will be a constant comparison between Catalonia and the Basque Country: two case studies, as Daniel Conversi said, “which offer similar economic, structural and social variables, while differing sharply in the cultural variables” (1997: 4). In the first section, I will attempt to analyse the origins and the evolution of Catalan and Basque nationalism as well as a description of the main 2 Ibarretxe Plan was overwhelmingly rejected by the Spanish Parliament on the 01/02/05 (313 votes to 29) although the Basque Parliament had previously voted to support his plan. Some years later, the Spanish Constitutional Court banned the Basque referendum organized by the Basque Prime Minister Juan José Ibarretxe. Moreover, on the 28th of June 2010, the Spanish Constitutional Court amended part of the core of the new Catalan Statute. Likewise, in 2006, the Spanish Parliament had previously altered the content of the proposal passed by the Catalan Parliament. 5
    • Exam.No.7159947 features of political history in both nations. In that respect, I will focus my description on how and why the Basque Country and Catalonia launched their processes to revise the Statutes of Autonomy at the beginning of the 21st century. In fact, to me, how these processes were engaged seems essential in order to provide some answers to the questions that have been outlined here. On one hand, those “post-sovereign proposals”, first Ibarretxe Plan and then the Catalan Statute, set out pragmatic and concrete proposals to solve for good the historical problem of Basque and Catalan national accommodation within Spain (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006: 348; Requejo, F. 2010: 149). However, they have not achieved their initial purposes and, in not so doing, they have not turned Spain into a culturally and politically plurinational state (Cardus, S. 2010). On the other hand, Basque nationalism and Catalanism did not choose the same path when they defined their political proposals almost 10 years ago. Thus, in Catalonia, the reform of the Statute was presented as a ‘national agreement’ that would sort out the historical conflict between Spain and Catalonia. This led to a feeling that the new Statute was almost a sacred element within Catalan society. Later on, the negative response of Spanish institutions to the new Catalan Statute has generated new formulae of political mobilization based on two issues, namely the need of Catalanism’s unity and the importance of the right of selfdetermination. By contrast, the Basque nationalism movement has not followed the same path. This might be partly due to the fact that the political projects launched during this period did not result in anything but in ferocious fights between Basque forces and parties. Moreover, according to surveys, these proposals were not representative of the wide majority of the Basques. In the second section I will consider some data about Constitutional Preferences, the support for the current Statutes and the support for the reform of the Statutes of Autonomy that both Parliaments approved not so long ago. In so doing, this section seeks to use some empirical data from surveys to show that, for instance while in Catalonia, people’s political preferences towards independence might be increasing due to the rejection of the Spanish institutions of the Catalan statute (Guibernau, M. 20103), in the Basque Country secessionist positions have remained broadly unchanged. Likewise, survey figures will also point out that, whereas Ibarretxe Plan did not have the support of the majority of the Basque citizens, the Statute of Catalonia did. In the third section, by doing a comparison of the manifestos and the political proposals made by civic society organizations and main political parties in the last ten years, I attempt to explain the progressive rise of self-determination statements, specially in the Catalan case. This section will conclude that, though traditionally the Basque nationalism movement was, in general terms, more secessionist than the Catalan one (Díez Medrano, J. 1999: 239), nowadays this might be changing. Actually, new initiatives that have been endorsed by both nationalist movements in the last few months might lead us to think that Catalan and Basque nationalist movements could be converging in their aims, strategies and claims. 3 It must be noted that all the translations from Catalan or Spanish to English of this dissertation have been provided by the author. 6
    • Exam.No.7159947 This analysis is completed in the final section with some data on the results in elections relating to nationalist political parties since the advent of the twenty-first century. This latter element will be added in order to provide a more precise analysis of how exactly the support for the idea of independence is increasing. For instance, unlike what it might be predicted, the main separatist political party in Catalonia (ERC) does not appear to be benefiting from the current rise of secessionist positions (Cardús, S. 2010: 61). Another issue must be taken up before moving on. Conclusions of this essay might be worthy within the Spanish context, but also in the currently European one. In fact, it has been often pointed out that how these issues will be sorted out in Spain might influence other European’s countries with similar situations (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006: 351). Thus, in the last few years, it has been increasingly obvious that there are many European nation-states where minorities do not feel protected by pressures of centralisation (Conversi, D. 1997: 5, Resina, J.R. 2002: 382). For instance, Scotland and Flanders have recently led two episodes that follow this pattern. On one hand, the nationalist party which is currently the ruling Scottish government has launched a process to revise its political status and organize a self-determination referendum. On the other, the separatist political party in Flanders triumphed in the last Belgium federal elections (13th of June of 2010) after gaining the support of almost 30 per cent of the Flemish population. As I said earlier, though the study of these two latter examples is beyond the scope of this article, it seems to me that some questions that this essay tries to answer might be relevant to other multilevel case studies. Finally, it should be noticed that some difficulties on reaching conclusions might appear from the fact of giving too much importance to the present political conjuncture. For this reason, some might be tempted to affirm that conclusions of this paper are not supported by evidence yet. However, to me, this paper bases its arguments on a broad range of resources to guarantee that its conclusions are mainly reliable and significant. In that sense, main points of each section are outlined through comparing and analysing the evolution of data and contents of nationalist discourses in the last decade. 7
    • Exam.No.7159947 2. Catalan and Basque nationalism and Spanish political history This chapter seeks to give a general overview of the evolution of the Catalan and the Basque nationalism movements within Spanish history. In so doing, this chapter will introduce the main characteristics of both political movements and it will try to explain why at the beginning of the 21th century Catalan and Basque nationalism drew up new forms of Statutes of Autonomy. Moreover, before ending this chapter, both political processes will be described. Nevertheless, first of all, it seems worthy to clarify that Basque and Catalan nationalism are not recent political inventions as sometimes claimed in some academic and political contexts. As J.P. Fusi said once, Basque and Catalan nationalisms are “historical realities” that have shaped themselves through the historical events and their cultural disticntiveness (quoted in Gurrutxaga, A. 2005: 7). If we look deeper into the history of Spain, we can understand that Basque and Catalan nationalism were born more or less at the same time although their birth was due to different reasons. Thus, at the turn of the twentieth century, some of the Catalan and Basque politicians started building up political movements with their own national symbols in order to improve the standard of living within both nations and preserve their cultural features (Giner, S. 1984: 94). However, as it has been often pointed out, these national movements were quite different one from each other. An explicit development of this idea is suggested by Sebatian Balfour and Alejandro Quiroga when they describe the origins of Catalanism as a regionalist movement imbued with ideas from several ideologies based on linguistic and historical distinctiveness (2007: 129). In fact, this political strategy turned Catalan nationalism into a ‘civic’ political movement which avoided by all means any reference to terms like race or blood. Likewise, Balfour and Qurioga believe that, since then, the main purpose of Catalan nationalism has been finding the best path to accommodate the Catalan nation within a plurinational Spanish state. By contrast, Basque nationalism was created from a completely different theoretical approach. Indeed, its birth was “a reaction against Spanish modernization” just after the Basque defeat in the two Guerres Carlines and it was led by Sabino Arana (1865-1903), who was a really conservative politician (Balfour, S. and Quiroga, A.2007: 128). Furthermore, since its creation, Basque nationalism agitated for secession, as well as focused its discourses not on the civic values but on the nature of the Basque ‘race’ (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006: 351; Muro, D. 2005: 580). In that sense, the first Basque nationalists attempted to create national symbols from a harmonic picture of the Basque countryside and its Catholic and hard-working people (Molina, F. 2010: 249). These general differences between the origins of both nationalist movements have led to a wide agreement among the literature: while Catalan nationalism is linked with civic values, the Basque nationalist movement has more ethnic features (Conversi, D. 1997). 8
    • Exam.No.7159947 2.1 Historical episodes and nationalist attitudes in the Basque Country and Catalonia However, this clear distinction that used to exist in ethnic and civic ideological terms between these two study cases might have become mainly blurred nowadays. This might not be merely because both nationalist movements have contributed to building civic movements, but also because Spanish and European politics are a huge political context which has shaped these political movements. Regarding that, thirty years after the Spanish Constitution was approved, it seems reasonable to assume that the Spanish political context might lead both nationalist movements to have similar strategies although they belong to two different social and national origins. Thus, in what follows, I shall argue that any important shift in Spanish politics has always played an important role in defining peripherical nationalist political strategies. In that sense, leaving aside the case of the Second Republic period when both nations had weak Autonomous Statutes, and Franco’s dictatorship when only two Basques provinces kept some sort of regional government, the main event relating to devolution within Spain was during the advent of democracy. Nevertheless, when l’Estat de les Autonomies was enacted in 1978, both nationalist movements still differed substantially in their political proposals, discourses and means. First, while the Catalan political parties did not consider any rupture strategy and stood for political consensus within Spain, Basque nationalist parties took a more intransigent line with Spanish political proposals until the beginning of the 80’s (Conversi, D. 142). Second, in those times and unlike the Basque nationalist movement, Catalanism was able to formulate a national agreement that led to the creation of a hegemonic discourse based on the statement that Catalonia is a nation. In addition to that, this discourse asserted some other principles such as the importance of two issues, namely their own language and the shared Catalan culture and history (Balfour, S. And Quiroga, A. 2007: 135). Finally, though in Catalonia there were a few small groups which used violence, it was largely in the Basque Country where a strong armed group called ETA perpetated many violent actions with significant consequences. Precisely, ETA and what has been labelled as the Ezker Abertzalea (left-wing nationalists) forged new principles for the Basque nationalist movement during the 60’s. That was partly a consequence of the Spanish and the European context in which left-wing social movements and Third World liberation movements had a significant support among people. So, as I said earlier, the Spanish and European context provided ETA the chance to introduce some changes on Basque nationalism premises (Jauregui, 1981 quoted in Molina, F. 2010: 251; Ugarte, J. 2009: 365). For instance, since then, Basque nationalism has moved to more civic positions and, as Catalans did some decades before, has turned language into the core element of their discourses (Gurrutxaga, A. 2005: 5; The Guardian 2010 (1)). The structural argument that the Spanish and European political context has influenced both political movements can be also easily seen if we look deeper into what happened after the Spanish Constitution was approved by referendum. Thus, at the beginning of the 80’s, main political nationalist parties in both places, 9
    • Exam.No.7159947 Convergènica i Unió (CiU) in Catalunya and Partido Nacionalista Vasco-Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea (PNV-EAJ) in the Basque Country, ruled their countries avoiding any reference to secessionism. Despite being concerned that Spain was not a real federal system (Orte, A. And Wilson, A. 2009:416) both political parties preferred to use their new institutions to start a process of nation-building (Balfour, S. And Quiroga, A. 2007: 143, Gurrutxaga, A. 2005: 2). Saying that, I am not suggesting that in those times the idea of independence disappeared from both nationalist movements. Indeed, especially in the Basque Country, important political actors did not stop claiming secession. Rather, it seems to me that at the beginning of the Constitutional era, the main nationalist political parties sought strategies in order to come to agreements with the Spanish state-wide political parties. In my view, this was partly due to the Spanish political context which seemed to be in favour of part of the Basque and Catalan historical claims. As it has been often pointed out, this situation remained stable until the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s when the Spanish and the European context shifted again (Cardús, S. 2010). Thus, the secession of many Sovietic countries, the fall of the Berlin wall and, most obviously, the feeling that Spanish political parties did not have any intention of starting further devolution processes provided a scenario where secessionist statements easily rose. For instance, despite not having an immediate and direct consequence, it was in 1989 when the Catalan Parliament recognized for the first time the right of self-determination of the Catalan people. 2.2 Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute Once I have made clear the origins and the evolution of Basque and Catalan nationalism before the advent of the 21th century, I will focus on the processes of Ibarretxe Plan and the revision of the Statute of Autonnomy of Catalonia. I will divide this section in two parts, the first one to explain Ibarretxe Plan and the second one, to analyse the reform of the Catalan Statute. The reason is that, as some scholars have often asserted, this political process influenced, to some extent, the one planned in Catalonia one year later (Jiménez Sánchez, J.J 2006: 540). However, before moving towards this subject, the paper will put forward some characteristics of the Spanish and the European political context at the beginning of the 21th century which might have also influenced both nationalism movements. - The Spanish Constitution: Quite often, Spanish politicians define the current Spanish Constitution as the core element through which all the Spanish citizens can express the sense of belonging to Spain. They believe that the Constitution should not be reformed because it was the result of a wide agreement after Franco’s death. Nevertheless, most Catalans and Basques do not think the same way (Publico, 2009). Theoretically, the approval of the Spanish democratic supreme law on 1978 ought to have erased the basic statement that ruled Franco’s dicatorship (1839-1975): Spain was based on two elements, 10
    • Exam.No.7159947 namely Catholicism and Castile as the ‘ethnic core’ (Molina, F. 2010: 250). Though the Constitution partly achieved this aim, twenty years after its approval, many Catalans and Basques started to believe that their national expectations within Spain could not be reached. This conclusion was caused by the feeling that the the concept of Castile as the ‘ethnic core’ of the state remained within the Spanish Constitution as well as the idea that those who implemented the supreme law “do not tolerate any deviations” (Maskaliunate, A. 2007: 82). In other words, many Catalans and Basques stopped regarding the Spanish Constitution as a useful political tool for their territories. - The Spanish government: In 2000, the right-wing state-wide party, Partido Popular, won the Spanish elections with the majority of the seats in the Parliament. From then on, the Spanish government, led by José María Aznar, implemented strong recentralization and neo-conservative policies. This led to two political consequences referring to our case studies. First, it started a period of sharp confrontation between the central and the Catalan and the Basque executives. For instance and according to Josep Pallarès, in the Basque case there was “a virtual breakdown of institutional relations between both governments” (Pallarès et al 2006: 46). In addition to that, these strong Spanish nationalist attitudes and opinions, which were also spread through mass media, politics and sports, radicalized Basque and Catalan people. That might be seen by looking at the main Catalan secessionist political party results in the 2003 election. Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) sharply increased their support and achieved their best political results since Franco’s death (16,4 per cent of the votes) (Guibernau, M. 2010: 101). - Globalization and European political institutions. In the last decades, it has become increasingly obvious that the state has been also challenged from above. Regarding that, even if we grant that states are still essential in politics, a recognition that many other actors such as big enterprises or international organizations (NATO, EU,...) are playing an important role in the international arena is needed (Gurrutxaga, A. 2004: 10). In light of all this, Catalans and Basque have also abandoned some stereotypes about the importance of the political centre of Spain, Madrid. For instance, nowadays Catalan and Basque nationalism tend to believe that the solution might be more easily found in Europe than in Madrid. 2.2.1 Ibarretxe Plan After looking at the Spanish and European context at the turn of the 21th century, this paper will focus on the Basque case. In order to understand Ibarretxe Plan it is important not to lose sight of the Lizarra’s Agreement in 1998. This agreement was the first one in decades between moderate and radical Basque nationalism (Ibarra, P. And Ahedo I. 2004: 362). Its commitment was starting a process to reach a free and a peaceful Basque state. In fact, some have defined this pact as the “sovereigntist turn” of the moderate Basque nationalism and the beginning of a new political era in the Basque Country (Martínez Herrera, E. and Jeffrey Miles T. 2010: 23). In 11
    • Exam.No.7159947 regard to that, Basque politics evolved to a new situation where there was a real breakdown of political relations between Spanish (PSOE and PP) and Basque nationalist (PNV, EA and Ezker Abertzalea) political parties although Lizarra’s agreement was broken only two years later. Precisely, it was in this polarized context when the Basque government (PNV, EA and Spanish United Left) launched the so-called Plan Ibarretxe. According to Pedro Ibarra and Igor Ahedo, this Plan sought “to guarantee the insertion of Euskadi in Spain through a ‘status of free association’” (2004: 366). However, beyond the idea that Lehandakari Ibarretxe wanted to reform the Basque Statute based on the right of self-determination of the Basque people, there is not a general agreement among scholars about how we should exactly define the proposal in theoretical terms. Some have asserted that the application of Ibarretxe Plan would have turned Spain into a real federal system. Others believed that it was a proposal to reach a Spanish confederation (Martínez Herrera, E. and Jeffrey Miles T. 2010: 24). Finally, a few people argued that it was a clear-cut case of a secessionist plan (Jiménez Sanchez, J.J. 2006: 352). Although I understand all these concerns, the approaches of scholars such as Keating, Bray and Guibernau when they define Ibarretxe Plan as a “third way between the traditional search of independence statehood and the status quo” (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006: 347), which was close to Quebec sovereignty plans (Guibernau, M. 2010: 98), seems the most worthwhile to me. Ibarretxe Plan was passed in the Basque Parliament on the 31 December 2004 by the vote of 39 out of 75 of its members. The proposal had mainly the support of moderate Basque nationalist political parties. As regards the radical nationalist movement, they split the votes of their six MPs in order to guarantee the approval of Ibarretxe Plan although they did not completely agree with the contents of the project. On the other hand, the so-called Spanish nationalist political parties rejected this proposal contending that it was unconstitutional (Orte, A. And Wilson, A 2009:419). Therefore, just like Lizarra’s agreement, Ibarretxe Plan became another example of the division between Spanish and Basque nationalist political actors. One month later, on the 1 st of February 2005, Ibarretxe Plan was largely dismissed by Spanish MPs in Madrid. In so doing, the Spanish Parliament decided to vote against what the Basque Parliament had approved not so long ago without debating the details of the Plan (Keating, M. And Bray, Z. 2006: 362). In light of that, Lehendakari Ibarretxe dissolved the Parliament and called Basque elections for 17 th of April. He won again with almost the 40 per cent of the turnout. Yet he lost part of his support and there was a substantial increase in votes for both radical nationalism and left-wing state-wide party options. Moreover, after the elections, these two latter political actors entered into negotiations to end the armed conflict that has been present in the Basque Country during the last 40 years. For this reason, ETA announced a ceasefire at the beginning of 2006 which was broken in December of that year. In this period, all Basque political actors were focused on this process, included the Lehandakari. However, when it failed due to the lack of agreement between the Spanish government and ETA, Ibarretxe launched his new proposal based on holding a non-binding 12
    • Exam.No.7159947 referendum about the independence of the Basque Country. Again, the Basque Parliament approved the initiative. However, soon after, the Spanish executive submitted an unconstitutional appeal against the referendum and the Constitutional Court banned Ibarretxe’s second proposal. Therefore, in four years, Ibarretxe failed twice in trying to endorse a further decentralitazion process although he had the support of the Basque Parliament. That was due to the strong opposition that his initiatives generated among state-wide political parties which consider the unity of Spain as one of their core elements. 2.2.2 The Catalan Statute Unlike Ibarretxe Plan, the reform of the Catalan Statute started with two relevant premises. First, Catalan political parties expressed their wish to formulate a text that might be acceptable by a wide majority of the Parliament. Second, at the beginning of the process, the left-wing state-wide party (PSOE) gave a favourable opinion to the initiative that made Catalan political parties more confident about the success of their political proposal. Actually, the Prime Minister and leader of PSOE, José Luis Ródriguez Zapatero, promised Catalan people that the Statute approved by the Catalan Parliament would be ratified without much change by Spanish institutions (Maskaliunate, A. 2007: 85-86). However, finally, this process to achieve greater autonomy for Catalonia had more political obstacles than had been expected by Catalan political actors. Thus, big state-wide political parties aside from United Left (IU) did not agree on the text passed by the Catalan Parliament with the support of 90% of the representatives on the 30 th of September in 2005. Rather, they required a negotiation to change some essential statements of the project in order to vote affirmatively in the Spanish Parliament. According to them, the outcome of the proposal was too close to Catalan nationalist positions and too distant from their preferences (Orte, A. and Wilson, A. 2009: 426). Catalan moderate nationalists (CiU) agreed on changing the content of the Statute to reach the support of PSOE and they considerably watered down part of the the draft that the Catalan Parliament had previously approved. Though the agreement reached by PSOE and CiU did not include the Popular Party (PP), the Spanish government called for a referendum in Catalonia to ratify the draft passed by the Spanish Congress. The referendum held in June 2006 confirmed the approval of the Statute by the Catalans (with a turnout of almost 50 per cent: 74 per cent voted in favour, 20 per cent against and 6 per cent submitted blank ballots). Immediately after the Statute was enacted, the Popular Party appealed to the Spanish Constitutional Court claiming that most of the Statute was illegal. The decision-making process of this court was not free of controversy. Thus, during the issuing of its ruling, one of his members died, another one was removed of taking part of the discussion, and four more had not renewed their mandate. Though all these legal abnormalities, the Spanish Constitutional Court announced the ruling at the end of June 2010, four years after the Popular Party appealed the law. The ruling invalidated fourteen articles of the text and provided an interpretative reading of twenty-seven more. The ruling basically affects issues linked to national recognition and Catalan self-government, the two main 13
    • Exam.No.7159947 aims asserted by Catalan politicians at the beginning of the process (Santamaría J. and Marcet, J. 2006: 253). Actually, some believe that, to some extent, the conclusions of the Spanish Constitutional Court turned the new Statute into a recentralizing text for Catalonia in comparison to the previous Catalan supreme law. Briefly, what the Court rejected or restrictively interpreted was: first, it stated that there is no other nation in Spain other than the Spanish one. Second, Catalan self-government does not stem from the historical rights of the Catalan people, rather it derives from the Spanish Constitution. Third, regarding the funding issue, the Catalan Statute can not fix the level of solidarity that the Catalans want to carry with the rest of Spanish autonomous communities. Four, judicial administrations must remain centralized in Madrid. Finally, and one of the most important for the Catalan people, the Catalan language must not have priority in the public administration or in schools. This latter statement might threaten the current model of education system where all subjects are taught in Catalan aside from English or Spanish. 2.3 Conclusions Generally speaking, the revision of the Catalan Statute presented some similarities to Ibarretxe Plan. For instance, both projects were radically altered by Spanish institutions. As regards the Basque case, Spanish institutions refused Ibarretxe’s proposals. Likewise, Spanish institutions considerably revised the Catalan Statute approved in the Catalan Parliament at least twice. However, aside from being rejected by Spanish institutions, Ibarretxe Plan and the new Catalan Statute processes also had many differences, namely the degree of unity among political parties in each nation, the support of one of the two main state-wide parties and the celebration of a referendum to endorse the project. Thus, in the Catalan case, there was a text which had the support of almost the 90 per cent of Catalan MPs from the beginning while in the Basque Country, Ibarretxe Plan achieved only slightly more than the 50 per cent due to the last minute support of Ezker Abertzalea. Likewise, the left-wing statewide party was in favour of approving a modified draft of the Catalan Statute in the Spanish Parliament. As regards that, this attitude was never present in the Basque debate about Ibarretxe Plan. Precisely, the main purpose of this paper is showing that these differences are the key point to understand why two political processes that had the same aim, that is to find a new and almost a permanent path to accomodate Catalonia and the Basque Country within the Spanish state, have generated such divergent political consequences. 14
    • Exam.No.7159947 3. Catalan and Basque constitutional preferences in the light of survey data In this section I will attempt to illustrate some of my arguments with survey data. In so doing, I will provide a range of data to analyse the support that the revision of the Catalan Statute and Ibarretxe Plan received during their endorsement. As we will see later, many more Catalans were in favour of the Statute in comparison to the Basque case and Ibarretxe Plan. Moreover, as it has been often pointed out, this section will show that these two devolution processes have not reduced the support to the idea of set up furthing decentralization processes in Catalonia neither in the Basque Country (Guibernau, M. 2010: 98). In that sense, opinions do not seem to have broadly changed in both places although there has been a revision of the Catalan Statute and a failed Ibarretxe Plan. In other words, though these two further decentralization processes were set up around 2005, citizen’s constitutional preferences in both case studies have remained static (the Basque Country) or have slightly changed in favour of a more secessionist position (Catalonia). 3.1 Ibarretxe Plan As I said earlier, Ibarretxe Plan did not have a wide support among Basque political parties. Actually, only those which were in office argued in favour of the proposal. To understand this phenomenon we must take into account the fact that left-wing Basque nationalism did not support this initiative although its aim was to improve self-government in the Basque Country. Despite not rejecting it either, left-wing Basque nationalism did not participate in the process because they considered that the only useful political strategy was not improve selfgovernment but secession from Spain. Slightly after Ibarretxe Plan was announced, a survey was done by Euskobarómetro in which Basques were asked about this political proposal. Most respondents (more than 50 per cent) did not show a clear position. Thus, according to the survey, in those times, the majority of Basque citizens did not know the content of Ibarretxe’s proposal or did not want to express their opinion on it. Likewise, while approximately one in three supported the initiative, one in five refused it (Euskobarómetro, 2004). In other words, there was not a general agreement among Basques about Lehendakari’s proposal. A few months later, when the Spanish Parliament had already rejected the Plan, another survey showed that people were divided in three equivalent segments (Pallarès et al. 2006: 475). Regarding that, we shall argue that Ibarretxe Plan did not ever achieve great support among Basques. This was partly due to the constant negative attitude of Spanish nationalist political parties (PP and PSOE) as well as to the adoption of a sceptical discourse by Ezker Abertzalea which influenced all their supporters. Aside from the weak support to Ibarretxe Plan, its rejection by the Spanish institutions had some consequences on Basque constitutional prefences. For instance, when asked about their constitutional 15
    • Exam.No.7159947 preferences, Basques put secession as the first Constitutional preference (Euskobarometro 2005). Thus, according to a survey published on May 2005, 37 per cent of the Basques agreed on the idea that the best future for the Basque Country would stem from becoming an independent state. Similarly, 34 per cent of respondents answered that a federal state would be the best formula to them while 26 per cent preferred the current political system and just 1 per cent of the population wanted a recentralization process. As we will argue later, these positions have not remained at the same levels until nowadays. Actually, it can be easily seen that, from then on, Basques have slightly increased their support for a federal state and current political system positions. However, it might be interesting to note that this does not mean that some historical features of Basque political preferences have completely changed. Actually, Basque citizens strongly believed in the right of Basque nation to decide its future. In regard to that, more than 80 per cent of them would agree with the result of any reform process being endorsed by Basque people regardless of its content. Likewise, even more Basques (83 per cent) believe that the Spanish government “must respect what the Basques decide” (Ibarra, P. and Ahedo, I. 2004:368). 3.2 Catalan Statute By contrast, the Catalan Statute approved by the Catalan Parliament was widely supported by Catalans from the beginning. According to data from a study carried out in autumm 2005, just after the Catalan Parliament passed the Statute, almost three in four Catalans said that Catalonia needed a new Statute (Requejo, F. 2010: 160; 20 Minutos, 2005). This was not merely because most Catalan political parties wanted to revise the Statute. Rather, it seems that in those times, Catalans started to feel somehow frustrated due to the failures of the devolution process that was set up in the 70’s (Resina, J.R. 2002: 377–96). In fact, as another survey showed in 2005, most Catalans affirmed that Spanish law should recognize the right of Catalonia to consider itself as a nation and they wanted a new and autonomous financial system and a general further decentralization process for Catalonia (El País, 2005). This general opinion turned into a reality in the referendum about the revision of the Catalan Statute that was held in June 2006. Thus, though the turnout was slighlty less than 50 per cent, 74 per cent of participants voted in favour of the proposal for the new Autonomous Statute. On the other hand, scarcely more than 20 per cent voted against while around 6 per cent of Catalans submitted blank ballots. After the referendum, it was tempting to some conservative political analysts to affirm that only between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the Catalans desired a further decentralisation process. They used to argue that there was a lack of legitimacy in this new Statute in comparison to the 1979 Statute, approved by referendum with a turnout of 60 per cent and 96 per cent of the votes cast. However, such authors did not provide a deeper and a more systematic analysis for their assertions. For instance, there were two factors that they did not take into account. On one hand, it might be 16
    • Exam.No.7159947 argued that part of the vote against the Statute was submitted by people who support the idea of Catalan secession. Actually, there were many secessionist political parties (ERC, CUP) and political platforms (Plataforma pel Dret a Decidir, Campanya Unitària per l’Autodeterminació,...) which played an active role against the last proposal of the Statute during the days before the poll. On the other, there has not been any in-depth study on constitutional preferences of those who did not participate in June 2006. Can we state that all of them endorse the current devolution model? In my view, we can not because there might be many reasons why people did not vote that should be analysed before reaching this hypothesis. 3.3 Constitutional preferences In addition to looking at data about the support to the Catalan Statute and to Ibarretxe Plan, it might be also worthwhile to take up studies related to constitutional preferences within the Basque Country and Catalonia. In so doing, this section seeks to add some empirical data to the main hypothesis of this paper: the revision of the Catalan Statute and Ibarretxe Plan have partly change political discourses and assumptions of nationalism within both nations. Montserrat Guibernau, who has done much research on this topic, used to believe that “devolution has not fostered separatism but it has generated a strong desire for greater autonomy in Catalonia and the Basque Country” (Guibernau, M. 2006: 63-64). However, in her last book in Catalan, ‘La identitat de les nacions’ (2010), she argued that constitutional preferences, specially in Catalonia, might be changing nowadays. According to her, secessionist options are increasing among Catalans (Guibernau, 2010:121). Precisely, the aim of this chapter is to show through some surveys how constitutional preferences are evolving in the Basque Country and Catalonia. These data will also lead us to discuss two other statements made by two well-known authors, namely Michael Keating and Enric Martínez-Herrera. Thus, while Keating and Alex Wilson asserted that boundaries between strong autonomists and separatists are “fluid” in Catalonia and the Basque Country (2009: 538), Martínez Herrera and Thomas Jeffery Miles believe that Catalans and Basque compromise with the basic parameters of Spanish Constitution is even higher now than when the supreme law was approved by referendum in 1978 (2010). 3.3.1 Constitutional preferences in the Basque Country (2001-2010) Quite often the statement that Basques desire a further decentralisation process is made not only by Basque nationalist political parties but also by many scholars (Ibarra and Ahedo 2004: 367-368; Guibernau 2006: 62). As regards this topic, if we look deeper into the data (Figure 1)4, we might argue that most of the Basque population has been in favour of greater devolution for their nation in the last decade (2001-2010). Actually, this preference has been always the one which has gained the most support in comparison to other options such as status quo or recentralization procecess. In that sense, in this period, the percentage has fluctuated between 48 per cent (2010) 4 Data from 2010 has been taken from a different research centre than 2001, 2005 and 2008. However, questions asked to Basques and Catalans in these studies are the same 17
    • Exam.No.7159947 and almost 70 per cent (2005) of the Basque population. In 2005, when this percentage achieved its peak, 37 per cent of Basques were in favour of a state model prepared to recognize the right of self-determination while slightly more than 40 per cent rejected this proposal (Gurrutxaga, A. 2005: 5). On the other hand, the majority of Basque citizens have never been in favour of recentralization positions (that is, a state without autonomies or autonomies with fewer powers).Thus, though in 2010 there was a small rise among these options, their support between 2001 and 2010 has never been more than 7 per cent of the Basque population. Figure 1: Constitutional Preferences in the Basque Country (2001-2010) 50% 45% A state w ithout autonomies 40% 35% A state in w hich the AC had less self-gov erning pow ers 30% A decentralised state like now aday s 25% 20% A state in w hich the AC had more self-gov erning pow ers 15% 10% A state that recognised the right to independence 5% 0% 2001 2005 2008 2010 Sources: CIS 2001, CIS 2005, CIS 2008, Euskobar?metro 2010 If we look deeper into our case study, we could easily reach three conclusions about constitutional preferences in this period. First, secessionist positions have remained at the same levels. As Figure 1 shows, 26 per cent of Basques were in favour of secession in 2001 while 28 per cent of Basque population agree with it nowadays. Second, greater devolution positions achieved their highest results just after Spanish institutions rejected Ibarretxe Plan in 2005. Third, unlike what Michael Keating and Alex Wilson affirm, boundaries between autonomists and federalists are really fluid. Thus, although further research needs to be done before we can conclude that, it seems that, in the Basque Country, there are not big fluctuations between the group wich include strong autonnomists and the one defined as the separatist one. Finally, what data seem to capture is the fact that since the failure of Ibarretxe Plan there has been a constantly reduction in the amount of people who want an increase of self-governing powers within Spain. Regarding that, it might be interesting to note that though there was a sharp rise among greater autonomy positions just after Spanish institutions refused Basque further decentralisation proposals, this tendency seems not to be consolidated five years later. In other words, Ibarretxe Plan process has not led to a substantial change among Basque constitutional preferences. This might be partly explained by other factors, namely which state- 18
    • Exam.No.7159947 wide political party is ruling the Spanish state, the victory of Basque socialist party (branch of the Spanish Socialists and Worker’s Party (PSOE)) and the existence of an armed group, ETA, which also claims for secession. However, an in-depth study of these other factors is beyond the scope of this paper. 3.3.2 Constitutional preferences in Catalonia (2001-2010) Having attempted to describe the evolution of constitutional preferences in the Basque Country in the last decade, I will now focus on the Catalan case. However, before moving towards this, it might be interesting to note that the further decentralisation process set up in Catalonia in 2005 has just recently ended up with the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court. In this sentence, the Court reinterpreted many articles approved by referendum by Catalans in 2006. This has led to a complex situation with unknown political consequences. In that sense, part of my conclusions in this section might need to be complemented with further research which is more up to date. Unlike the Basque case, data from several surveys demonstrate that constitutional preferences have tended to shift in Catalonia since the revision of the Statute of Autonomy started five years ago. Therefore, there has been a constant increased in the percentage of people who agree with the following statement: “Spain should be prepared to recognize the right of self-determination of Catalonia”. In other words, the number of Catalans who support the secession of Catalonia seems to be rising. For instance, according to data provided by the Spanish Sociological Research Centre (CIS), the percentage of Catalans who agree with secession has increased almost 7 per cent in the last decade. Thus, while in 2001 just 18 per cent of the Catalans defined secession as the best political formula for Catalonia, in 2010 the percentage was almost 25 per cent (Figure 2). Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile to outline that even with this rise of secessionist movements, support for secession is still higher in the Basque Country than in Catalonia. 19
    • Exam.No.7159947 Figure 2: Constitutional Preferences in Catalonia (2001-2010) 60% A state w ithout autonomies 50% A state in w hich the AC had less self-gov erning pow ers 40% A decentralised state like now aday s 30% A state in w hich the AC had more self-gov erning pow ers 20% 10% A state that recognised the right to independence 0% 2001 2005 2008 2010 Sources: CIS 2001, CIS 2005, CIS 2008, CEO 2010 Furthermore, if the question asked of Catalans is dichotomic (in favour or against the secession), the evolution of political positions in Catalonia appears to be even bigger. Thus, according to several surveys provided by some private research centres, the number of those who would vote affirmatively in a hypothetical secessionist referendum has sharply risen (from 37 per cent to the 47 per cent) in less than a year. On the other hand, the percentage of those who would vote negatively has dropped 10 points (from 46 per cent to 36 per cent) in the same period (La Vanguardia, 2009; La Vanguardia 2010). By contrast, this tendency has not been observed in the Basque Country with the same dichotomic question. Actually, according to data provided by the Sociological Research Centre of the Basque Government, since 1988, the support for both options (in favour or against secession) has been always around 35 per cent of the Basque population (Centro de Prospecciones Sociológica, 2009). Meanwhile, the remaining 25 per cent prefers not to answer this question. It might be worthwhile to note that this substantial shift in Catalan constitutional preferences (not in the Basque case) coinicided with the last phase of the Constitutional Court’s decision-making about the amendments to the Statute. In that sense, it seems quite obvious that the legitimacy conflict between what the Catalan people decided in June 2006 and the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court has led Catalans to support secessionist positions. However, many questions need to be answered. Will this support for secession remain at the same levels in the next few years? Or, by contrast, do all these changes become an ephemeral situation, a short-time reaction to the Constitutional Court attitude against the Statute? Will constitutional preferences in Catalonia change in the same way as in the Basque Country after the Ibarretxe Plan was also rejected by Spanish institutions? For instance, will the percentage of those who are in favour of greater devolution processes slightly decrease at the beginning of this new decade? 20
    • Exam.No.7159947 Regardless of the answers to these questions, as I said earlier, the number of Catalans who consider secession as the best political formula for Catalonia has constantly risen in the last decade. Regarding that, a study done by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in 2008 asserted that the percentage of Catalans who would vote affirmatively in a hypotethical referendum would be between 52 per cent and 62 per cent (UOC, 2008, La Vanguardia, 2008). In contrast, in the last surveys analysed, there has been an increase among those who are in favour of a centralized state. As table 2 above shows, in Catalonia the percentage of those who support a state without autonomies has risen from 5 per cent in 2005 to almost 12 per cent in 2010. This might lead one to conclude that there is a process of polarisation on this topic within Catalan society. Thus, it might be worthwhile to note that, unlike Herrera and Jeffrey believed, data tend to demonstrate that the support to the “basic parameters of the 1978 compromise” do not remain at the same levels of 1978. For instance, while in 1978, 90 per cent of the turnout (almost 70 per cent) voted affirmatively to the draft of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia, nowadays, the number of Catalans who still support proposals that could be included within Spanish Constitution parameters is approximately only 64 per cent. In other words, those who want unconstitutional proposals to be implemented (an independent Catalan state or, by contrast, a Spanish centralized state) achieve 36 per cent of the percentage. 3.4 Conclusions This section has examined some data to illustrate which was the support of the revision of the Catalan Statute and Ibarretxe Plan as well as the evolution of constitutional preferences in Catalan and Basque societies in the last decade (2001-2010). Basically, two main arguments have been outlined. On one hand, while in the Basque Country there was never a majority support to Ibarretxe Plan, in Catalonia, surveys showed a wide majority of people supporting the new Statute. On the other hand, it seems that since these processes were set up, centralized and, specially, secessionist positions have increased among Catalans. By contrast, due to many other factors, Basque secessionist positions remain at the same levels as in 2001. However, as it has been said earlier in this paper, all these results should be cautiously read. Thus, whereas this short-term increment in Catalan secessionist positions might stem from specific conjunctural facts and therefore might be temporary, Basque constitutional preferences seem to be well-defined and hard to shift. 21
    • Exam.No.7159947 4. Discourses, manifestos and their evolution within Basque and Catalan nationalism Beyond quantitative reasearch, it might be essential to analyse whether Catalan and Basque nationalism have radicalized their attitudes or discourses in the last few months. In so doing, we should be aware that there are some difficulties in establishing the ideology of each political party as political parties tend to hide their real opinions in order not to loose voters (Caminal, M. 2000). However, in our case studies, it seems that there have been two clear-cut tendencies. On one hand, in the Basque Country, the nationalist political movement has not radicalized discourses neither attitudes. For instance, both main nationalist parties, PNV and Ezker Abertzalea, seem to have moderated, to some extend, their opinions. On the other, in Catalonia, though specific electoral factors might influence the current situation, the nationalist movement has set secession as one of the core issues in daily political discussions for the first time in history. Similarly, it might be worthy to find out whether both nationalist strategies may be converging nowadays. Regarding that, it has been traditionally said that Basque and Catalan nationalist political strategies substantially differ one from another (Zabaltza, X. 2005:17). Nevertheless, in the last few months some steps have been taken that might lead us to conclude that Basque and Catalan nationalism practices are becoming similar nowadays. 4.1 The Basque Country: Stop and go In what folllows, I shall argue that far from radicalizing their discourses, the Basque moderate nationalist movement has partly avoided self-determination claims since Ibarretxe Plan was definetely defeated in 2008. I should clarify that I am not suggesting that PNV has given up calls for Basque secession talks. Rather, I am saying that, though Spanish institutions overwhelmingly rejected what the Basque Parliament approved, Basque moderate nationalism seems to have chosen a political path that is not focused on the right of self-determination as it used to be some years ago. Thus, despite reiterating their support for the right of self-determination in their manifestos and discourses, their new proposals do not consider this right as the core element of the current political discussion. For instance, the aim of its last proposal, called Ados (Agreement) (Diario Vasco, 2010), is to generate a debate around the Basque Country and its economical, cultural and political future (PNV, 2010). This situation might not be only due to the result of Ibarretxe Plan’s defeat but also to the unexpected defeat of the Basque moderate nationalist political party in the Basque elections of 2009. Then, Spanish nationalist political parties, PSOE and PP, reached a political agreement that turned the leader of PSOE’s Basque branch into the Basque prime minister. From then on, PNV has reformulated its political strategy in order to fully assume its political centrality, to consolidate its credibility and to increase its visibility. On the other hand, since the advent of the new century, Ezker Abertzalea, the left-wing Basque 22
    • Exam.No.7159947 secessionist movement, has put forward several manifestos with proposals substantially different from those in the end of the twentieth century. Basically, this political movement has recognized for the first time ever that violent actions might not be a way to gain the independence of the Basque Country (Gara, 2009, The Guardian 2010 (2)). In that sense, it might be worthwhile to point out that Ezker Abertzalea has never condemned ETA’s terrorist violence. However, this shift in its discourses might be due to many reasons. First, in the last few years, there has been a crystallisation of a pacifist consciousness opposed to ETA’s actions in Basque civil society (Tejerina, B. 2001: 54). Second, the last process of negotiation between the Spanish government and ETA in 2006 undermined the trust in the armed group that many Basques used to have not so long ago. Third, the Spanish parliament passed a law introducing constraints to political organisations that do not condemn ETA’s use of violence. As a result of this, Ezker Abertzalea was outlawed and Spain’s supreme court barrets its candidates from running in the last Basque elections. Regarding that, it might be interesting to note that though this political movement is strong and their members feel especially attached to it, the current ban on its candidates is considerably damaging its daily political action. In short, this scenario might have forced Ezker Abertzalea to find new ways to achieve its main political objective: Basque independence. Thus, in the last year it has reached a political agreement with other left-wing secessionist political organizations which condemn ETA’s actions in order to build a hegemonic separatist political party without ETA’s influence. Likewise, in its last speeches, ETA seems to admit that the best option to sort out the Basque-Spanishh political conflict is declaring a permanent ceasefire. Furthermore, in the last few months, many other new strategies have been put forward within the Basque secessionist movement. In fact, beyond political parties, several political networks which assert the inalienability of the right of self-determination have appeared in order to build a new hegemonic political movement in the Basque Country. Two cases, namely GazteHerria (a youth movement) and Independentistak, might help illustrate this idea. Both of them are new political platforms which aim to become massive social networks in favour of the right of self-determination in the Basque Country. 4.2 Catalonia: setting secession as a daily political issue In contrast, in Catalonia, political organizations seem to have radicalized their discourses. Thus, especially since the Constitutional Court’s rejection of the constitutionally of Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, it has been increasingly obvious that even moderate nationalist parties have incorporated the debate of Catalan secession. However, this evolution on Catalan discourses is not only due to the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court. Actually, there have been several episodes in the last few years that illustrate how secessionist claims have become more present within Catalan society. First, a wide political platform to support the right of self-determination of Catalonia was created while the discussion of the draft of new Statute of 23
    • Exam.No.7159947 Autonomy for Catalonia was launched in the Catalan Parliament in 2005. This platform organized two massive demonstrations in February 2006 and December 2007 in Barcelona claiming this right and the right of Catalonia of being recognized as an oficial nation. Second, in 2009, Arenys de Munt, a small town near Barcelona, held a non-binding Catalan independence referendum. About 40 per cent of the town’s 6,500 eligible voters, which overwhelmingly were in favor of the independence of Catalonia, participated in the poll. This episode led to other four waves of non-binding referendums in nine months within hundreds of Catalan towns and villages, even many important ones such as Girona, Manresa, Lleida or Mataró (BBC, 2009). According to professor Montserrat Guibernau, those referendums are a characteristic example of Catalan civil society’s traditional ability to mobilize people in order to claim for their rights (Guibernau, M. 2010: 125). Finally, on July the 10 th 2010, more than one million Catalans took part in the demonstration against the ruling of the Constitutional Court and in favor of greater autonomy for the Catalan region. The demonstration, which has been considered one of the biggest in Catalan history, became also a separatist event. Regarding that, most of the placards and slogans within the rally expressed their support for Catalan secession. To some extend, this evolution within civil society has also affected political parties and Catalan elites. In the last few months, the moderate nationalist political party (CiU) and the Spanish federalist political party (PSCPSOE) in Catalonia have been forced to express their opinion on Catalan political status. Even if they have determined the validity of their old project, these political parties have mentioned and discussed Catalan secession in their discourses in order to satisfy a general request on this issue. In fact, according to many surveys, part of their Catalan voters have gone from supporting federalism into supporting secession in less than one year (Publico, 2010). Therefore, though Catalan main political parties still are still seeking a formula which would keep Catalonia within the Spanish state, it seems that Catalanism has definitely moved its political centrality to a more secessionist position (Avui (1), 2010; Avui (2), 2010). A good example to illustrate this process are the attempts of some former politicians from many different parties to submit a unique secessionist candidature in the Catalan elections this autumm (Avui (3), 2010; Vilaweb, 2010). 4.3. Conclusions It has often been said that Catalan nationalism tends to be more accomodating in their proposals than Basque nationalism (Balfour S. And Quiroga, A. 2007: 155). Nevertheless, as this section has outlined, Catalonia’s current political organizations seem to be radicalizing their discourses and proposals on national issues while in the Basque Country the nationalist movement holds similar positions to those that it used to articulate in the past. This has partly led to a new political context in which nationalist strategies within both nations might be converging. In that sense, it has been increasingly obvious that beyond political parties, social movements which assert the inalienability of the right of the self-determination are increasing their presence within Catalan and Basque nationalism. Thus, social and political networks have led all the big events that both nationalist movements have recently organized whereas political parties have only shown their agreement with 24
    • Exam.No.7159947 these events. In addition to that, last episodes have created an opportunity for an end to conflict in the Basque Country. For instance, the Basque left-wing secessionist movement has affirmed for the first time time that Basque Country independence might only be gained by political means. Therefore, despite being two different national realities, after Ibarretxe Plan and the revision of the Catalan Statute, Basque and Catalan nationalist strategies might be currently becoming similar. However, as I said earlier, it should be noticed that all these shifts in both places are quite recent. In that sense, further research will be needed in the near future to give an overall picture on this topic. 25
    • Exam.No.7159947 5. Elections and Basque and Catalan nationalist political parties (2001-2010) In this section I attempt to analyse whether the failure of both further decentralization processes have benefited Catalan and Basque nationalist political parties in the last few polls as it might be expected. Regarding that, what my analysis will show is that while in the Basque Country there have not been significant variations since 2001 aside from those stemming from the ban of Ezker Abertzalea, in Catalonia the main secessionist political party has not taken advantage of the rise of secessionist positions. Thus, ERC has not been able to improve its results since 2004, just before the Catalan Parliament set up the process to revise the Statute of Autonomy. This might partly be because ERC has been ruling the Catalan government in the last seven years. In that sense, many Catalans may have evolved to consider ERC as a member of the coalition government which have not taken any clear step towards Catalan secession. In fact, as the sociologist Salvador Cardús asserts, the effects of this growth among secessionist positions are mainly driven not to traditional political parties but to other political options such as widespread abstention, support to new political parties, blank ballot, rejected vote,... (2010: 61). 5.1 Basque Country (2001-2010): State-wide political parties reach the power As I indicated earlier, no significant variations in Basque constitutional preferences and political nationalist discourses have been observed in the last decade. So, an interesting question should be: do elections show a different tendency? The view taken here is that they do not show it either. In fact, since the advent of democracy in 1978, loyal voting behavior with regard to national identification has been a constant in the Basque Country. Thus, Basque nationalist and state-wide political parties blocks have always been tightly balanced (Figure 3). In that sense, Basque nationalist options (around 60 per cent) have always polled higher percentage of votes than state-wide political parties (around 40 per cent) in Basque elections (Gurrutxaga, A. 2005: 6). This is a clear-cut example to illustrate what has been commonly outlined about Basque Country politics: “Basque society is clearly divided into two well-defined blocks according to how people define themselves in national terms” (Pallarès et al. 2006: 475). 26
    • Exam.No.7159947 Figure 3: Basque nationalist and non-Basque nationalist blocks results (2001-2009) 70,00% 60,00% 50,00% Basque Nationalist 40,00% Non-Basque Nationalist 30,00% Others 20,00% 10,00% 0,00% Basque elections (2001) Basque elections (2005) Basque elections (2009) Source: Eusko Jaularitza 2010 Therefore, as regards political parties results in the elections, the defeat of Ibarretxe Plan has not led to a significant different scenario either (Figure 4). Thus, though the current Basque prime minister is a member of the Spanish Labour Party (PSOE), nationalist options still record the highest percentage of votes. However, two issues aside from loyal voting according to national identification influenced electoral behaviour in the 2009 election, where state-wide political parties won a majority of the seats in the Basque parliament. First, as a result of the outlawing of Ezker Abertzalea slighlty more than one-hundred thousand ballots were discounted, mainly because most supporters of this left-wing separatist option spoilt their ballot papers. In addition to that, idiosyncracies of the electoral system led state-wide political parties to win the majority of the seats in the Parliament although they did not have the majority of the votes. In other words, regarding seat distribution, state-wide political parties were benefited by the absence of Ezker Abertzalea. Second, unlike some years ago, there was a general agreement between the two big state-wide political parties, PSOE and PP, to rule the Basque Country together. 27
    • Exam.No.7159947 45,00% 40,00% 35,00% 30,00% 25,00% 20,00% 15,00% 10,00% 5,00% 0,00% Basque elections (2001) Basque elections (2005) EA Bl an k ba Sp llo oi t le d ba llo t EB Ar al ar PP Basque elections (2009) PS E Ba ta su na PN V Percentage Figure 4: Basque elections results (2001-2009) Political Partie s Source: Eusko Jaularitza 2010 Nevertheless, elections data provide an illustration of how the current scenario is not significantly different from the one that existed in 2001. For instance, if we look at the results of the last three Basque elections, we might argue that moderate nationalism results have remained at the same levels in the last decade. Thus, while in 2001, a coalition of two parties (PNV-EA) got 42,72 per cent of the votes in 2009, without the coalition, they gained 42,25 of the percentage. By contrast, it should be noted that in 2005, despite winning the elections, the coalition dropped four points and lost four seats weakening the possibilities of Ibarretxe Plan (Pallarès et al. 2006: 471). Similarly, the share of votes for state-wide political parties has mainly remained at the same levels in this period. For instance, while in 2001 the sum of both parties (PP and PSOE) was around 40 per cent, in 2009 it was slighlty less than 45 per cent of the turnout. However, regarding this case, there has been a significant variation in the last decade. Thus, though in 2001 the Spanish Conservative Party (PP) was considered the main alternative to the moderate nationalist government (23,12 per cent), in the 2009 elections, it was the Spanish Labour Party (PSOE) which became the leader of the non-Basque nationalist movement (30,7 per cent). Finally, with regard to left-wing secessionist movement results, there have not been significant variations either. In that sense, in 2001 this party polled about 10 per cent while, for instance, in 2005 it obtained slighty more than 12 per cent of the votes. Moreover, after its ban by Spanish institutions in 2009, left-wing separatist vote was divided into two options which added up to almost 15 per cent of the overall percentage. On one hand, many voters who still support Ezker Abertzalea spoilt their ballot (8-9 per cent). On the other hand, 6 per cent of the turnout voted for Aralar, a separatist political party which rejects any action commited by ETA. 28
    • Exam.No.7159947 5.2 Catalonia (2001-2010): a decade of Catalanist left-wing coalition rule In what follows, I shall argue that, unlike in the Basque Country, in Catalonia there have been significant variations in voting behavior in the last decade. Thus, as we will see later, at the beginning of the decade those political parties which showed strong opposition to policies implemented by the right-wing Spanish government improved their share of the vote. In that sense, left-wing secessionist party (ERC) and the Catalan green party (ICV-EUiA) received a higher number of votes in 2003 and in 2004 than those recorded in the 1999 and 2000 elections. This fact led to the creation of a broad left-wing coalition with PSC-PSOE (Catalan-Spanish Labour Party) that has ruled the Catalan government since 2003. This political agreement became a remarkable historical episode in contemporany Catalan politics because it meant the end of a period of 23 years in which moderate nationalist political party (CiU) had been in office. However, seven years later, the situation seems to be about to change again. Thus, surveys and political analysts predict significant shifts from this autumm when Catalan elections will be held again. In that sense, experts believe that a big defeat of the catalanist left-wing coalition currently in office is the most plausible option. Actually, it seems that the increasing support for Catalan secession has not had a positive impact on the main separatist political party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC). By contrast, the last surveys have predicted that non-participation, voting to small and quite new political parties and blank and spoilt ballots might reach remarkable percentages (El Punt, 2010 (1)). As table 5 shows, between 2003 and 20065, ERC and ICV-EUiA improved sharply the share of vote. On one hand, ERC became the third political party just after the two main ones, CiU and PSC, polling at between 14 and 16 per cent of the turnout. On the other hand, also in this period, ICV-EUiA, constantly increased its support and in 2006 was able to improve the share of vote from 7.23 per cent to 9.56 per cent. In those times, we can also observe that two right-wing political parties in the Parliament, CiU, the Catalan moderate nationalist party, and PP, the Spanish nationalist party, usually secured the same percentage of votes. Actually, they had almost the same percentage of votes in the two Catalan and the two Spanish elections. Finally, the case of the PSC is an illustrating example to show how part of Catalonia’s citizens have a different voting behavior depending on whether they vote in the Catalan election or the Spanish election. Thus, according to the data, while in the Spanish elections PSC usually polls at about 40 per cent of the percentage, in the Catalan polls it usually drops between 10 and 20 points. 5 Catalan elections were celebrated one year before it was programmed. The reason was merely that ERC was expelled from the government due to its oposition to the Catalan Statute passed in the Spanish Congress and the executive lost the support of the majority of the Catalan Parliament. The date of the elections was five months later the referendum of the Statute was held. 29
    • Exam.No.7159947 Catalan and Spanish elections results in Catalonia (2003-2008) 50,00% 45,00% 40,00% 35,00% 30,00% 25,00% 20,00% 15,00% 10,00% 5,00% 0,00% Catalan elections (2003) Spanish elections (2004) Catalan elections (2006) IC V C iu ta da ns Bl an k ba llo Sp t oi le d vo te PP ra C Es qu er PS C iU Spanish elections (2008) Source: Generalitat de Catalunya, 2010 Furthermore, data from Catalan elections in 2006 show some other interesting features. First, as Ignacio Lago and other Spanish political scientists believe, “sectors of the electorate undertook significant processes of exit (widespread abstention) and voice (Ciutadans, blank ballot, spoilt vote)” (Lago, I. et al 2007: 231). For instance, the appearance of a new political organization, Ciutadans, a left-wing Spanish nationalist political party, was one of the most remarkable facts in those elections. The foundation of this organization stems basically from some social movements critical with the further decentralization process that was set up with the revision of the Statute of Catalonia. Actually, this party, which gained 3 seats and had the support of more than 3 per cent of the turnout, saw this new devolution process a an attack against the civic values represented by the Spanish state and the Spanish constitution. Second, thanks to this polling data, we could start identifying some trends that would be reliable later on related to a few political parties. For instance, in 2006, just after the Popular Party submitted an unconstitutional appeal against the reform of the new Statute of Catalonia, the amount of blank and spoilt ballots rose from the 1,21 per cent to the 2,48 per cent of the overall percentage in comparison to 2003. Moreover, according to the one of the last surveys published by the public Opinion Research Centre of Catalonia, this trend could be even higher in the next elections. Thus, this research centre has predicted that the amount of people who might cast blank ballots will reach 7 per cent of the turnout this October, when the elections will take place (El Punt, 2010 (2)). Similarly, though the decrease in ERC and PSC’s vote was not really significant in 2006, both political parties, which have been in office since 2003, lost part of their support. Whereas the secessionist party (ERC) 30
    • Exam.No.7159947 dropped 2,4 points from 2003, Catalan and Spanish Labour Party (PSC-PSOE) lost 5 percentage points reaching 26,81 per cent. Likewise, surveys also predict that these two parties will suffer a remarkable defeat this October. In other words, despite not being 100 per cent reliable, survey data reveal that the revision of the Statute process has negatively affected the state-wide political party which partly supported the Statute (PSC-PSOE) and the separatist main political party (ERC). Meanwhile, processes of exit and voice such as abstention, blank ballots, spoilt votes, minority coalitions and the moderate nationalist political party (the official opposition) are likely to clearly benefit from this process. 5.3 Conclusions It is often expected that a rise of secessionist positions will automatically lead to a growth of votes cast for separatist political parties. Nevertheless, as the Catalan case demonstrates, this statement might not be always true. Though Catalan elections have not taken place yet, elections in 2006 and almost all surveys agree on at least one thing: while the amount of votes recorded for the Catalan main secessionist party (ERC) will decrease, the moderate nationalist political party (CiU) will improve its results. Nevertheless, as regards this assumption, this paper will outline two other issues to take into consideration. On the one hand, there are new separatist political parties that might be increasing their supports at the expense of ERC. For instance, there is an organization of left-wing secessionist candidatures (CUP) which in the last local elections increased its number of town councillors in a few important Catalan cities such as Mataró, Manresa or Vilanova i la Geltrú. Likewise, the former president of Barcelona Football Club, Joan Laporta, is leading a new political organization called Catalan Solidarity for Independence that might have chances to reach good results in the next Catalan elections. On the other hand, as I said earlier, Catalan electorate may decide to use other processes of voice (spoilt vote and blank ballot) or of exit (abstention). In that sense, in the 2006 and in 2008 elections, more than 20 per cent of those who define Catalan secession as their first constitutional preference did not participate in the poll (Centre d’Estudis Sobiranistes, 2009). In short, though apparently the main separatist political option in Catalonia has not benefited from the rise of secessionist positions, other political options might be positively affected by this new political context. At least, what seems obvious is that the process to revise the statute added up to other factors beyond the scope of this paper have significantly affected voting behavior in Catalonia. In contrast, in regards to the Basque case, we might conclude that there have not been remarkable variations in electorate behavior since Lehandakari Ibarretxe set up a further decentralization process seven years ago. In fact, the advent of the state-wide political party’s coalition ruling the Basque government basically stems from the ban of Ezker Abertzalea rather than from a significant change in Basque voting behavior. Thus, as we have indicated earlier in this paper, the two blocks based on national identification have remained well-defined within Basque society in the last decade. Aside from that, it will be interesting to pay attention on what might happen with Ezker Abertzalea supporters voting behavior in the near future if the ban to this movement still remains in place. Regarding that, there is a tendency identified in the last few years which predicts that Aralar, the 31
    • Exam.No.7159947 left-wing secessionist political party that rejects violence, will go up at the expense of Ezker Abertzalea. 32
    • Exam.No.7159947 6. Conclusions This paper has examined the role played by the two further devolution processes, namely the revision of the Catalan Statute and Ibarretxe Plan, in the evolution of Basque and Catalan nationalist movements in the last decade (2001-2010). In so doing, the paper has tried to answer essential questions such as: 1. Did most Basque and Catalan citizens agree on setting up those further devolution processes? As I have said earlier, according to data provided mainly by sociological research centres but also by a referendum held in Catalonia in June 2006, the support for Ibarretxe Plan and for the new Catalan Statute was substantially different. Thus, while in the Basque Country only one in three citizens clearly showed their agreement with the content of the proposal, in Catalonia, nine in ten of those who took part in the referendum (50 per cent) voted in favour of the new main Catalan law. Likewise, as regards the support for both proposals in regional parliaments, in the Catalan case there was also a significant higher number of favourable votes recorded than in the Basque Country (90 per cent versus 51 per cent). In that sense, though Catalan and Basque parliaments launched both proposes, only the Catalan revision of the Statute could be presented as a proposal of the whole nation. For this reason, what this paper has suggested is that the rejection of both proposals by Spanish institutions has had more political consequences within Catalan society than within the Basque Country. In other words, the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court might have generated lower levels of attachment to Spain in Catalonia but not in the Basque Country. 2. Have Catalans and Basques shifted their constitutional preferences between 2001 and 2010? In the third section, according to the evidence that I have presented, we have pointed out some features of the evolution of constitutional preferences in both nations from 2001 to 2010. In so doing, two points have been outlined. On the one hand, it has been asserted that constitutional preferences in Catalonia and in the Basque Country have not evolved in the same way in the last decade. Thus, while in the Basque Country, though suffering some variations in specific moments, constitutional preferences have mainly remained at the same levels, in Catalonia they seem to be constantly changing. Regarding that, Catalonia figures basically show that support for further devolution, even for secession, is rising. I think Catalan political analysts are well aware of this, since most of them currently affirm that in the last four years, the percentage of Catalans in favour of secession has considerably increased and has even reached Basque percentages (Cardús, S. 2010: 5; Guibernau, M. 2010). Therefore, though we should cautioulsy read this data because they are so recent, we might affirm that the reform of the Catalan Statute has considerably affected constitutional preferences within Catalonia (Guibernau, M. 2010:121). 33
    • Exam.No.7159947 3. Have Catalan and Basque nationalist political and social movements radicalized their manifestos, discourses and attitudes from 2001 to 2010? Before reaching a conclusion on this issue, there are certain facts that need to be considered. As a general observation, we might state that the main political organizations in both nations have not substantially changed either their manifestos or their attitudes. Nevertheless, as it has been previously outlined, the political contexts of Catalonia and of the Basque Country have illustrated two distinguishable tendencies in this period. First, in the Basque Country, after Ibarretxe Plan and the last peace process, the most important Basque nationalist organizations do not seem to have radicalized their discourses. On the one hand, in its last project called Ados, the PNV, the Basque moderate nationalist political party, does not mention any plan to achieve Basque secession in the near future. On the other hand, Ezker Abertzalea, the Basque radical nationalist political movement, has admitted that violence commited by ETA is currently not a useful strategy to gain the independence of the Basque Country. Thus, this political organization has reached an agreement with weaker and smaller left-wing nationalist organizations to build a new political movement which will reject political violence. Secondly, within Catalonia, it seems that the rejection of the Catalan Statute, which has been considered an attack on Catalan culture and self-government, might be turning into an increasingly secessionist political movement. At least, in this case study, qualitative research seems to show that Catalan secession has become one of the daily political issues discussed by most political parties. In other words, due to the Spanish institutions rejection of the Catalan Statute, the idea of the independence of Catalonia appears to have entered the agenda of the main Catalan political actors. This reaction is associated by Daniel Conversi to a “pattern recurring throughout Catalan history”(1997: 147) which consists of acting on national terms only when Catalan people feel that Catalonia has suffered an attack as a nation. In regard to that, even if we grant that secession is on the current Catalan political agenda, two points should be noticed. On the one hand, only a part of the Catalan nationalist movement has put its priority on gaining the independence of Catalonia in the last few years. On the other, although in Catalonia secession might currently be on the agenda of some political actors, this fact does not imply that Catalonia is closer to secession than the Basque Country. In fact, only if Catalan constitutional preferences remain at the same levels and nationalist discourses still show similar claimings in the coming years, we will be able to affirm that Catalan and Basque nationalism might also converge in their political strength within both nations. 34
    • Exam.No.7159947 4. Have secessionist political parties increased their support in this period? In arguing that Catalan and Basque nationalist movements have evolved in the last decade, we have also analysed the evolution of nationalist political parties results in the last few elections. Regarding that, in the last section, the paper has attempted to draw a tendency for each case study. First, as regards the Basque Country, we have said that the traditional two well-defined blocks according to national identification (Basque and Spanish nationalist voters) do not seem to have been affected by political consequences stemming from Ibarretxe Plan. Thus, according to data provided by elections, Basque nationalist political parties still have the majority of votes although due to the electoral law and the outlawing of Ezker Abertzalea, state-wide political parties (PSOEPP) won the majority of seats in Parliament in 2009. Secondly, regarding the Catalan case, the fact remains that there have been many variations in the share of votes of each political party in this period. Nevertheless, the most interesting tendency might be the one that illustrates HOW the main Catalan separatist political party (ERC) has not benefited from the fact that Catalan independentist positions have grown in strength and visibility. By contrast, other political options such as new and small political parties or blank ballots have increased in the last few years. In fact, the Catalan sociologist Salvador Cardús affirms that the Catalan Statute has not provided a better scenario to Catalan nationalist political parties because they were not prepared to suddenly focus their discourses on secession (2010: 58). 6.1 Final Conclusions By giving some answers to these questions, I have mainly attempted to describe two phenomena. On the one hand, though Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute were set up with similar objectives within the same state at the same period and they were both, to some extend, rejected by Spanish institutions, their political consequences have been significantly different. Thus, while in the Basque Country, the nationalist movement does not seem to have suffered many variations, in the Catalan case, constitutional preferences, nationalist manifestos and discourses, even the share of the vote of nationalist political parties have been in a constant change since 2003. Moreover, in this paper I have also attempted to outline some reasons beyond the scope of this essay that might explain why these two further devolution processes have had such different consequences. In that sense, it is important not to lose sight of how each process was set up. For instance, in Catalonia, the Catalan Statute was presented as a ‘national agreement’ that would possibily become the last step of the Spanish decentralization process started in 1979. Actually, as I said earlier, even most political parties supported the law passed in Parliament. This led to a feeling that the new Statute was similar to a consensual proposal. Later on, the negative response of Spanish institutions to the new Catalan Statute has caused lack of understanding within Catalonia. Moreover, while it remains to be seen how the ruling will finally affect the Catalan political system, the disillusionment with the Spanish Constitution as a guarantee of 35
    • Exam.No.7159947 Catalan rights is spreading. By contrast, in the Basque Country, due to the lack of unity, all the political projects presented in this period, not just Ibarretxe Plan but also Ezker Abertzalea’s proposals, were never taken in consideration as consensual proposals of nationalist organizations. Thus, despite perceiving the rejection to Ibarretxe Plan as an attack to Basque self-government, there was the feeling that this proposal had been set up only by a very specific group within Basque society, Basque moderate nationalism. Therefore, most people did not perceive the failure of Ibarretxe Plan as a ‘national problem’ as it might be happening in the Catalan case. By focusing on how both nationalist movements are currently organized I wished to draw attention to political strategies employed by both nationalist movements. In that sense, it seems that in spite of the differences in historical and cultural heritage, Catalan and Basque nationalism might be converging in their aims, strategies and claims due to the Spanish political escenario. In view of this range of arguments, it should be noticed that, aside from common problems of comparative territorial studies, my research might leave some aspects open to criticism due to two main issues. On the one hand, the limited scope of this paper. On the other, the difficulty of studying specific cases, further decentralization processes in the Basque Country and in Catalonia, that still generate several reactions in both societies. Therefore, it seems obvious that further research on this topic would lead to more accurate conclusions. Another potential criticism to my conclusions might be the importance placed by this paper on further devolution processes in order to explain changes on nationalist movements. In that sense, though I agree that other elements beyond the scope of this paper might have also influenced Basque and Catalan nationalism, according to data presented here, the research on Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute is central to understanding the evolution of Basque and Catalan nationalist movements in the last decade. Finally, the paper has also achieved another objective: developing some hypotheses in order to confirm a statement asserting that the classical nation-state is not currently working in areas of contested nationality (Keating, M. and Bray, Z. 2006: 362). Thus, unlike scholars like Martinez Herrera and Jeffrey believe (2010:7), the support for the basic parameters of the 1978 compromise in Catalonia and the Basque Country has not increased, not even remained at the same levels in the last few years. In fact, as professor Ferran Requejo outlines, the lack of recognition of minority nations that Ibarretxe Plan and the reform of the Catalan Statute episodes have shown “make it likely that the confrontation between the different national grous will continue in the coming years” (Requejo, F. 2010: 165). In other words, if further decentralization processes do not achieve the main objectives set by the majority of the citizens of a minority nation, nationalist conflicts might possibly continue in this contested area for a quite long time. 36
    • Exam.No.7159947 7. References Balfour, S. and Quiroga, A. (2007) The Reinvention of Spain: Nation and Identity since Democracy, Oxford Press. Caminal, M. (2000) ‘’El pujolisme i la ideología nacionalista de CDC’ in Culla Clarà, J.B. (ed) El pal de paller: Convergencia Democràtica de Catalunya (1974:2000). Cardús, S. (2010) El camí de la independència. La Campana CEO, (2010), Baròmetre d’Opinió Pública 2ª onada, Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió. Avaiable at: %F3+Pol%EDtica+%28BOP%29.+2a+onada+2010 CIS (2001) Situacion Social y Politica de Cataluña (XVI), Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas. Avaiable at: CIS (2001) Estudio preelectoral en el Pais Vasco, elecciones autonomicas, Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas. Avaiable at: ( CIS (2005) Barometro autonomico, Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas. Avaiable at ( CIS (2008) Atribucion de responsabilidades politicas, Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas. Avaiable at ( Conversi, D. (1997). The Basques the Catalans and Spain. Hurst and Company Díez-Medrano, J. (1999) Naciones dividas: Clase, política y nacionalismo en el País Vasco. CIS Giner, Salvador (1984), ‘Ethnic Nationalism, Centre and Periphery in Spain’, in Abel, Christopher and Nissa Torrents (eds.), Spain: Conditional Democracy, London: Croom Helm, pp. 78-99. Guibernau, M. (2006) ‘National identity, devolution and secession in Canada, Britain and Spain’ in Nations and Nationalism, 12/1, pp. 51–76. Guibernau, M. (2010) La identitat de les nacions. Dèria Editors Gurrutxaga, A. (2004) ‘El Estado-Nación en tiempos de incertidumbre”’ in Gurrutxaga, A. (eds). ‘El presente del Estado Nación’. Euskal Herriko Unibertsitateko Argitalpen Zerbitzua. Gurrutxaga, A. (2005) ‘Transición política en España: Estado y Nacionalismo Vasco’ in Waisman, C.H and Raanan, R. (eds) Transiciones de la dictadura a la democracia: los casos de España y América Latina. Herriko Unibertsitateko Argitalpen Zerbitzua Ibarra, P. and Ahedo, I. (2004) ‘The Political Systems of the Basque Country’ in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. Vol.10, pp.355–386. Keating, M. and Bray, Z. (2006) “Renegotiating Sovereignty: Basque Nationalism and the rise and the fall of the Ibarretxe Plan” in Ethnopolitics (5) 4. 37
    • Exam.No.7159947 Keating, M. and Wilson A. (2009) “Renegotiation the State of Autonomies: Statute Reform and multilevel politics in Spain” in West European Politics 32 (3) Jimenez Sanchez, J.J. (2006) “Nationalism and the Spanish dilemma: the Basque case”. Politics and Policy 34 (3) Lago, I., Montero, J. R. and Torcal, M. (2007), The 2006 Regional Election in Catalonia: Exit, Voice and Electoral Market Failures, South European Society and Politics, Vol.12, No.2, pp.221–235. Martínez Herrera, E. and Miley, T. Jeffrey (2010) “The constitution and the politics of national identity in Spain” in Nations and Nationalism 16 (1). ASEN. Maskaliunate, A. (2007) “The role of (ETA) violence in the construction of the nationalism in Spain and the Basque Country” in Studies of Ethnicity and Nationalism 7 (3), ASEN Molina, F. (2010) ‘The historical dynamics of ethnic conflicts: confrontational nationalisms, democracy and the Basques in contemporary Spain” in Nations and Nationalism 16 (2), 2010, pp. 240-260 Muro, D. (2005) ‘Nationalism and nostalgia: the case of radical Basque nationalism” in Nations and Nationalism 11 (4). ASEN Orte, A. and Wilson, A. (2009) ‘Multi-level coalitions and Statute Reform in Spain’ in Regional and Federal Studies (19). Pallarès, F. Muñoz, J. And Retortillo, A. (2006) ‘Depolarization in the 2005 Autonomous Elections in the Basque Country: Towards a New Scenario For Peace?’ in Regional and Federal Studies 16 (4) 465479. Requejo, F. (2010). ‘Revealing the dark side of traditional democracies in plurinational societies: the case of Catalonia and the Spanish ‘Estado de las Autonomias” in Nations and Nationalism 16 (1) pp. 148-168 Resina, J.R (2002) “ Post-national Spain? Post-Spanish Spain?” in Nations and Nationalism 8 (3) Santamaria J. And Marcet, J. (2006) ‘El referéndum catalán del 18/J. Apoyo, rechazo y abstención’ in Molins, J. and Oñate, P. Elecciones y comportamiento electoral en la España multinivel Tejerina, B. (2001) “Protest Cycle, political violence and social movements in The Basque Country” in Nations and Nationalism 7 (1) ASEN Ugarte Tellería, J. (2009) ‘Gobernando con el Estatuto de Guernica. Euskadi 1979-2008’ in Castells, L. and Cajal, A. (eds) La autonomía vasca en la España contemporánea (1808-2008). Marcial Pons Historia. Vilar, P. (1981) Estat, nació, socialisme: estudis sobre el cas espanyol. Curial Zabaltza, Xabier (2005). Una historia de las lenguas y los nacionalismos. Gedisa 38
    • Exam.No.7159947 Websites 20 Minutos, 2005, 17th of June 2010 Avui, 2010 (1) 21_98657.php (17th of June 2010) Avui, 2010 (2) 8802.php) 16 of June 2010 Avui, 2010(3), 16 of June 2010 BBC, 2009, 18th of June 2010 Centre d’Estudis Sobiranistes, 2009, 20th July 2010 Centro de Prospección Sociológicas, 2009, 20th of July 2010 Diario Vasco, 2010 5th of July 2010 El País, 2005, 16th of June 2010 El Punt, 2010 (1), 30th of July 2010 El Punt, 2010 June 2010 (2), 17th of Euskobarómetro, 2004, 16th of June 2010 Euskobarómetro, 2005, 16th of June 2010 Euskobarómetro, 2010, 16th of June 2010 Eusko Jaularitza, 2010 17th of June 2010 Gara, 2009, 19th of June 2009 Generalitat de Catalunya, 2010 39
    • Exam.No.7159947 e4f76bc87110VgnVCM1000000b0c1e0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=095fe4f76bc87110VgnVCM1000000b0c1e0aRC RD&vgnextfmt=default, 18th of June 2010 La Vanguardia, 2008 17th of June of 2010 La Vanguardina 2009, 17th of June of 2010 La Vanguardia, 2010 18th of July of 2010 PNV, 2010, 20th of June 2010 Público, 2009, 16th of June 2010 Público, 2010, 18th of July 2010 The Guardian, 2010 2010 (1), 24th of June The Guardian 2010 (2) 17th of June UOC, 2008 17th of June of 2010 Vilaweb, 2010, 6th of August 2010 40