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Regional languages: Tensions over use of Catalan, Basque and Galician in Spanish parliament

Catalan, Basque and Galician were used for the first time in the Spanish Parliament on September 19. The event immediately sparked tensions, with the far-right denouncing the Sánchez government’s new concessions to Catalan separatists.

In protest, MPs from the ultra-nationalist formation Vox left the hemicycle during an intervention by Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) MP Pedro Sánchez and returned their headphones, which allowed them to watch the simultaneous translation into Castilian. (Spanish).

“We do not want to be complicit in this destruction of our coexistence”Maria José Milan, president of the Vox parliamentary group, a fiercely anti-independence group, said in the corridors of parliament. “We will not use interpreters to communicate with people [des villes espagnoles] From Salamanca, Barcelona or Vigo »he added in the message Posted on X (formerly Twitter).

The main right-wing party, the People’s Party (PP), requested from the beginning of the session that the languages ​​not be used before the amendment to the parliamentary rules of procedure is officially approved on Thursday.

Co-official language status

MPs from the far-right Vox party put on headphones during speeches in regional languages ​​in Castilian at the Spanish Parliament on September 19, 2023 in Madrid.  Sanchez was not at the meeting.

The use of the Catalan, Basque and Galician plenary sessions of the Spanish Parliament has been a long-standing demand of nationalist parties in these regions. But it was won in mid-August by Carles Puigdemont’s Catalan independence party, Junts per Catalunya (“Together for Catalonia”), in exchange for a decisive endorsement of the Socialists’ election as speaker of Spain’s parliament. Francina Armengol.

Catalan, Basque and Galician have co-official language status in Spain, where Castilian is the only official language in the entire country. This means that, along with Castilian, they are an official language in Catalonia (north-east), the Basque Country (north-west) and Galicia (north-west), taught in school and used in administration and the regional parliament.

“It is a historic day (…) Finally, the rights of the Catalan-speaking people will be protected here.Miriam Nogueras, President of the Parliamentary Group of the Catalan Party, welcomed in Catalan.

The party of former Catalan regional president Mr Puigdemont (who has fled to Belgium to escape prosecution) has also called for the government to recognize Catalan, Basque and Galician as official languages ​​of the “European Union”.

Lack of a clear majority

The request was discussed on Tuesday by European affairs ministers, who protested and asked for more time to make a decision.

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Votes from MPs in Mr Puigdemont’s party will be essential for Mr Sanchez if he wants to return to power in the coming weeks. Mr Puigdemont in particular has called for amnesty for separatists prosecuted by the courts for a 2017 secession attempt.

The July 23 parliamentary elections did not win a clear majority.

With the July 23 legislative election coming first, Partido Popular (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijo has been tasked by King Felipe VI to present his candidacy for prime minister to parliament next week. But a priori it has no chance of achieving this in the absence of a clear majority.

Mr Sánchez, who came second in the election but was better able to win a majority thanks to the support of regionalist parties, will then have two months to present his candidacy. If the parliament fails to implement it, new elections should be called.

Author: The world with AFP

Source: Le Monde



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