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Commentary. Elections in December without the participation of the arrested independence leaders, and maybe not even Puigdemont himself, is arrogance worthy of an authoritarian regime.

In Spain, the promise of democracy is faltering

It is true, they called a referendum for independence after seven years of clashing against Madrid and the Popular Party. Indeed, they called for the vote, thus undermining the already weak Spanish institutions, frozen since the 1978 revolt that ferried the country out of the darkness of Franco’s fascism. True, irresponsibly they did not take into account the balance of power.

Yet they did not resort to the use of violence. They only used ballots and demonstrations in the streets.

But now, the Catalan leadership is being treated worse than common criminals and terrorists. Seven ministers and vice president Junqueras have been arrested — joining the “two Jordis” who are already in jail — and the arrest warrant was issued for Puigdemont who took refuge in Brussels.

We are faced with a serious and unprecedented event that voids the little dialogue that remained and, consequently the forces like Podemos or Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau were not heard.

The PSOE drifts off, stays silent and consents.

Madrid’s arrest of members of the Catalan government — now “martyrs” — is the confirmation of the repressive and myopic line set by Mariano Rajoy since the beginning of the crisis.

Talking now about “free” elections in a month, scheduled for Dec. 21, without the participation of the arrested independence leaders and maybe not even Puigdemont himself, is pure fiction and arrogance worthy of an authoritarian regime.

The veil of the democratic pact is torn. In Catalonia and Spain and for the future of the European Union.

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