French-speaking countries are surprised and bemused by Spain’s prosecution of certain members of the Catalan parliament bureau. That is what the bureau president, Carme Forcadell, who is among the representatives charged by the Spanish prosecutor, told ACN on Tuesday during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF in French), which was held this week in Luxembourg.
Leading pro-independence figure Forcadell took part in the meeting of 83 French-speaking territories from all over the world, and explained the current political situation in Catalonia to its members in a session on Sunday. Forcadell said the case against five out of the seven bureau members for allowing a debate and a vote on an independence referendum in the Catalan Parliament “has drawn interest” in the APF. She also said that some of its affiliates are “astonished” and “do not understand” the authorities presenting lawsuits for debating issues in parliament.
Forcadell also announced that the next AFP political commission, to be held in March 2018, will tackle the issue. “The Francophonie, a space of so many countries, will discuss it and will take into account the situation in Catalonia, because receiving lawsuits for allowing debates and votes in parliaments is very difficult to explain,” she said. Moreover, she claimed that everyone knows that the right to self-determination is a human right and that all peoples should have the opportunity to exercise it.
The Parliament president also told ACN that it is unlikely her case will end up with her being banned from holding public office. “I always say that I do not think I will be banned from public office, as I have always fulfilled my duty, have always met the Parliament regulations and have always stood up for freedom of expression and the right to initiative from all members of Parliament. This is what should be done in all chambers,” she claimed.
While taking part in Tuesday’s APF session, Forcadell highlighted the linguistic and cultural diversity in the country and the struggle over the centuries to prevent the Catalan language from disappearing. “Successive generations have managed to preserve Catalan despite the attempts to impose another language and identity,” she told her counterparts. “Diversity is a feature of our collective identity,” added Forcadell, who on Sunday also met her counterpart from Quebec, Jacques Chagnon.
Although French is not an official language in Catalonia, its Parliament has been part of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie as an observer member since 2008. This is the first time that the Catalan chamber president has attended the annual APF meeting in 8 years. The organization brings together 83 French-speaking countries and regions from all over the world, including France, Belgium, Canada, Egypt and Vietnam.
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