On Monday Carme Forcadell was elected new Speaker of the Catalan parliament. She closed her inaugural address with a call that says much about the tenor of the new legislative term: “Long live democracy, the sovereign people and the Catalan Republic”.
The chamber’s new presiding officer urged everyone to “rise to the challenge so that the creation a framework that we can call our own becomes this parliament’s legislative legacy”. During her speech she urged everyone to look ahead to “the next 300 years” rather than dwell on the previous three centuries.
As she completed her transition from grassroots activist to institutional politician, the former president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC, in Catalan) noted that “this is a foundational moment. We convene as a sovereign parliament that aims to represent a free people, a national chamber with full powers”.
Forcadell’s address also referred to the need for welfare policies: “Let us keep our window wide open. I want a parliament that passes laws for the neediest of all, laws that close the social gap”, she said. “We must be proud to see that our job makes a difference to people’s lives. We are here to serve the people”, she added, after being voted in.
“This is a critical time. The Catalan people spoke on September 27, with a range of voices. Catalonia’s diversity is represented in this House. The Corporate Body of this parliament must ensure that those voices will be heard in a fair, equanimous manner”, Forcadell stated. In an inclusive gesture, Forcadell invited the two parties that do not have a representative in the Corporate Body (the PP and the CUP) to attend its meetings with voice but no vote.