The impossibility of executing the vote from the administration and the desire for there to be ‘notaries’ who would attest to who was not pulling the car led to this independentist Sanhedrin
The ‘general staff’ or ‘sanhedrin’ of the Catalan independence movement was born out of sheer necessity. Motley need, however. On the one hand, all the actors discovered that from the Catalan government the 1-O referendum could be designed, but do not carry it out from the administration, given the surveillance from Madrid. “It was a coup, as was the creation of Together pel Yes“, points out a key voice in the birth.
But in the birth of the ‘Sanhedrin’ comes another very powerful reason: the fear of CKD “to be slowed down” by the members of the newborn PDECat -risen from the ashes of CDC- and above “bear the blame”. “We needed notaries who would record who put sticks in the wheels,” recalls a Republican who was at the genesis.
Carles Puigdemont named Oriol Junqueras as head of the query. The executive weight was carried by a friend of Junqueras, Josep Maria Joveand every time he attempted any action he collided with the high structure”, he continues. The republican fear was “be crushed by converging machinery of communication and that the story be fixed that the fault of there not being a referendum was of ERC”, he points out.
And give an example the purchase of the urns. Junqueras’ orders were disregarded by the ‘consellera’ of Governació, Meritxell Borras, who was at the forefront of the electoral processes. This required a written order.
Faced with the ‘impasse’, the ‘sottogoverno’ of the ERC and the PDEcat created the ‘sanhedrin’, whose first meeting was held on a spring Saturday in the Empordà. It was long, cathartic and with a unitary ending. But it started very tense: before the notarial eyes of Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, David Vinyals and Joan Puigcercós, among others, Junqueras he took out a purchase order from the polls, signed by him. “But the vice president has, in practice, the same rank as a ‘conseller’, so Puigdemont’s own signature was required. The surprise outraged the then ‘president’ and some of those present,” he says.
The postconvergent ended up signing, three days later and after requesting that the order not enter the official registry of the Generalitat. According to the sources consulted, the signed order was delivered to the ‘ministry’ of Borràs… without requesting a certified copy.
“You are soldiers”
The ‘general state’ was decisive in the Govern crisis of July 2017. “The convergent ‘consellers’ were angry to discover that a shadow ‘government’ made the key decisions and they were not consulted. a member of the ‘general staff’ told a member of the Government meetings: “you are soldiers and you have to accept what the generals dictate”. To which he replied: “No problem, let’s change the roles, you and me.”
The members of the ‘Sanhedrin’ began to ask for heads. Even some powerful advisor to the PDECat, who like his counterpart from the ERC they pushed and a lot in the creation of the ‘general staff’, he saw fit to replace some members of the Government.
In an exchange of messages, however, it became clear that ERC could not get off scot-free: “I accept losing 4-1 [en número de ‘consellers’ relevados], but not 5-0”. In the end it was a 5-0: four ‘consellers’ and the secretary of the Government. A member of the ‘general staff’ assures that Junqueras had accepted that two ERC ‘ministers’ would also sacrifice themselves – the head of Justice, Carles Mundo, and the work Dolors Bassa– but ultimately there were only post-convergence casualties.
In a WhatsApp group with part of the ‘general staff’, some members advanced that they would threaten Puigdemont with calling a press conference if the ‘president’ did not dismiss the advisers. The threat was not carried out. A couple of these members of the strategic direction even asked for the opinion of Junqueras about the names that could relieve the ‘disaffected’ councilors with 1-O. The ERC president only gave a name, and accompanied it with a tagline: “Jordi Turullbut don’t tell Puigdemont what did i say”. Whatever it was, turull he entered the Government as ‘conseller’ of the Presidency.
It was considered that Mundó and Bassa, from ERC, would be included in the dismissals of ‘consellers’, to compensate for the post-convergence casualties, but finally both continued
After September 20
“The key to the referendum was not only the ballot box,” says a member of the ‘general staff’. He was crucial to achieve a “universal census”, decided days before the 1-O referendum, to overcome logistical difficulties. In fact, the census cards that were available in a secret place in Catalunya Nord were destroyed.
The organizational plot to avoid coups like the one that on September 20 left the organization of the referendum reeling was also highly complex. And the partisan discrepancies were overcome thanks to a parapolitical issue: the members of the ‘Sanhedrin’ risked their criminal future and this braided a network of trust. “After September 20, the one who takes absolute command is Martha Rovira, that before he had even studied with his party’s treasury the option of ERC buying the ballot boxes”, recalls a voice. What happened after 1-O is another story.