Published originally in Spanish. Ignacio Varela. El Confidencial.

Speaking to someone who had a long experience on international monitoring of electoral processes, I asked what an observer committee (of the European Parliament, for example) would do if it were requested to inspect the intended referendum of the October 1st in its current status. The answer was unequivocal: “They would not even bother to make the trip; the minimum conditions are not met. Any of the votings we supervised in the Third World countries including so questionable democracies as Haiti started with more fairness guarantees than this one”.

No one can certainly know what is going to happen next October 1st, but do we know already what it is not going to happen: that day won’t be a vote which can be admitted and certified for its democratic standards. This referendum violates all official and material requirements, and lacks of all the guarantees internationally demanded from a democratic vote. Apart from its anti constitutional core, it must to be suspended because of the fraudulent means of its promoters to hold it. Let’s see some of these requirements:

 

  1. The call for referendum. Referendum has been called only 24 days before vote, without the necessary time to arrange the proceedings that such action requires. The regular deadlines have been replaced with a summary procedure stripped of all monitoring mechanisms.

 

  1. Electoral census. A vote never can be valid without an electoral census. This one hasn’t any. No one knows what census Generalitat intends to use. Not certainly a legal one, since the only legal census that exists is on the hands of the National Institute of Stadistics.

 

The use of any other census will be either fraudulent or a theft. If they want to resort to the local registers of inhabitants, these include people not entitled to vote. If they resort to the censuses from previous elections, they would be turning the deceased into voters and letting outside those who are now over 18. If they have considered to hack into the files of official agencies like the Social Security or the Tax Agency, they would be letting outside thousands of people not included on them. Not to mention that such assault would be violating all the rules on data protection and trigger a flood of legal actions against Generalitat.

The truth, at this point, is that a Catalan citizen interested in the referendum doesn’t know if he or she is registered in the census, has no way to check it or someone to ask for.

 

  1. Voting facilities. This same interested citizen doesn’t know where is expected to show up for vote. He has been announced that he would receive a letter with that information, along his census card, to no avail. He hasn’t received it and it’s not likely that he receives it after the Civil Guard operation yesterday in Terrassa. So he will need to get to his voting post guided by the word of mouth or by the drums of propaganda.

 

They say that to avoid that school’s headmasters could be compromised, they will be required to hand the keys to Forcadell’s volunteers, so they can open the schools. There you are, all power to Soviets! On the other hand, is there any greater compromise for this headmasters than handing the key to some stranger without any kind of authority? If they do it, they should expect to be held accountable for that.

 

  1. Voting booths. Nobody has planned something so basic as voting booths, which provide the voters with some privacy. Considering that October 1st will be crowded with political commissars of “the process” watching who shows up and what he or she does, our citizen knows for sure that there will be someone on his back to ensure that he’s making not mistake.

 

  1. Polling stations. Supposedly, 55.000 people is needed to complete the stations. No one knows if is going to be called or not. Besides, if many of the designated choose to comply with the law and don’t show up, the remaining members will be all independence supporters. The chances for altering the vote are countless, because also will be there… 

 

  1. County auditors and party representatives which normally represent to all parties and watch each other to prevent irregularities. But this time there will be a bunch of process activists instead, without any counterweight at all. So, with such monochrome stations and one-sided auditors, we can expect that they will write in the voting sheet whichever result they like, or the suggested one by Forn’s delegate.

 

  1. Voting by post. Which this time won’t be possible. If you want or have to be on travel that day, you have lost your right to vote. All things considered, maybe it’s for the best.

 

  1. Vote count. Usually, it is carried out by a specialized company, hired through public tender. There won’t be any such company this time. Instead, they have commissioned the task to the Catalan Center of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (CTTI), an entity subordinated to Generalitat, with no experience on the field at all, and headed by Catalan government’s senior officers. Quite a non-guarantee of solvency and credibility, so anything can happen to the data.

 

  1. Electoral authorities. To give some kind of name to the electoral syndicate they made up ad hoc in the suspended referendum law, which usurp the place of the Junta Electoral, the official electoral commission. It comprises not a single judge or recognized jurist. The main virtue of all of them is their unconditional support to the cause. By the way, no one knows when or where they meet; they issue their resolutions from an unknown place where they are hidden to elude the action of justice. What an authority!

 

  1. The public (dis)order on the referendum day. Street protests during the vote are announced; human barriers to protect the voting centres, picketers going through the streets and visiting homes to “inform” the lazy voters. Apart from the coercive action, they need to provide Trapero of an alibi to pretend that he can’t intercept ballot boxes because the top priority is ensuring the public order.

 

To sum it up: this doesn’t get to qualify as simulation. The Generalitat is not in a position to offer the necessary conditions for a referendum. They will say that this all fault of the obstacles put in the way, we are not going into that now. But when any self-respecting government doesn’t want, doesn’t know or is unable to ensure the democratic conduction of a vote that it itself has called, whatever the reasons, must reconsider holding the vote.

Puigdemont and their associates will go down in history for provoking a chasm of confrontation and division in the Catalan society. For provoking a social constitutional conflict that will be entrenched far beyond October 1st. For challenging law and reason. Do they expect, in addition, to be remembered as the authors of the greatest attempt to rig an election in our modern history? If this is the face of the Catalan Republic, we better rush out or join to resistance.