Oriol Junqueras

The Honourable
Oriol Junqueras
Retrat oficial del Vicepresident Oriol Junqueras (cropped).jpg
Junqueras in 2016
Vice President of Catalonia
In office
14 January 2016 – 28 October 2017
PresidentCarles Puigdemont
Preceded byNeus Munté
Succeeded byOffice suspended
Pere Aragonès (2018)
Minister of Economy and Finance, Catalonia, Spain
In office
14 January 2016 – 27 October 2017
PresidentCarles Puigdemont
Preceded byAndreu Mas-Colell
Succeeded byPere Aragonès
Member of the Parliament of Catalonia
for the Province of Barcelona
In office
17 December 2012 – 10 July 2018 (suspended)
Member of the European Parliament
for Spain
In office
7 June 2009 – 16 January 2012
Succeeded byAna Miranda Paz
Mayor of Sant Vicenç dels Horts
In office
11 June 2011 – 23 December 2015
Preceded byAmparo Piqueras Manzano
Succeeded byMaite Aymerich
Member of the Municipality Council of Sant Vicenç dels Horts
In office
2007–2015
Personal details
BornOriol Junqueras i Vies
(1969-04-11) 11 April 1969 (age 49)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Political partyRepublican Left of Catalonia
Other political
affiliations
Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes
Alma materAutonomous University of Barcelona
OccupationAcademic
Signature

Oriol Junqueras i Vies (Catalan pronunciation: [uɾiˈɔʎ ʒuŋˈkeɾəz i ˈβi.əs]; born 11 April 1969) is a Spanish politician, historian and academic from Catalonia.[1] A former mayor of the municipality of Sant Vicenç dels Horts in north-eastern Spain, Junqueras served as Vice President of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017 when he was removed from office following the Catalan declaration of independence. He is leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC).

Born in 1969 in Barcelona, Junqueras grew up in the municipality of Sant Vicenç dels Horts. After graduating from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, he taught history at the university.

A supporter of Catalan independence, Junqueras joined the nationalist Republican Left of Catalonia. He was elected to the Municipality Council of Sant Vicenç dels Horts in 2007 and in 2011 he became mayor. He was elected to the European Parliament in 2009, a seat he held until January 2012. In 2012 he was elected as a member of the Parliament of Catalonia for the Province of Barcelona. In January 2016, following an agreement between the Junts pel Sí (JxSí), an electoral alliance of which ERC was part of, and the Popular Unity Candidacy (PUP), Junqueras was appointed Vice President of Catalonia.

On 1 October 2017 an independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite the Constitutional Court ruling that it breached the Spanish constitution. 92% supported independence though turnout was only 43% due to a boycott by those against independence and fears of state-sponsored violence. The Catalan Parliament declared independence on 27 October 2017 which resulted in the Spanish government imposing direct rule on Catalonia, dismissing the Catalan government. The Catalan Parliament was dissolved and fresh elections called. On 30 October 2017 charges of rebellion, sion and misuse of public funds were brought against Junqueras and other members of the Catalan government. On 2 November 2017 Junqueras and seven other Catalan ministers were remanded in custody by the Audiencia Nacional. Six of the ministers were released on bail on 4 December 2017 but Junqueras and Minister of the Interior Joaquim Forn were kept in custody. At the regional elections held on 21 December 2017 Junqueras was re-elected to Parliament and Catalan pro-independence parties retained an absolute parliamentary majority. Junqueras was suspended as an MP by a Supreme Court judge on 10 July 2018[2] and remains in prison.

Early life and family[]

Junqueras was born on 11 April 1969 in Sant Andreu de Palomar, a neighbourhood in the Sant Andreu district of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia.[3][4][5] His father was a high school teacher and his mother was a nurse.[4][5][6] Aged two, he and his family moved to Sant Vicenç dels Horts in Baix Llobregat.[4][5][6] His parents were persuaded by a nun to send him to the Liceo Italiano in Barcelona where he learnt Italian.[4][5][6] As a youngster he worked in the family's almond and olive orchards in Castellbell i el Vilar, Bages.[4][6] He is a Catholic.[4]

Junqueras claims he started supporting Catalan independence when he was eight years old.[4] After school he joined the University of Barcelona, where he was an activist in the student union, to study economics but before completing the course, transferred to the Autonomous University of Barcelona, graduating with a bachelor's degree in modern and contemporary history.[4][5][6] He obtained a doctorate in "History of Economic Thought" from the university in 2002 after producing a thesis on economic thought in Catalonia in the Early Modern Age (1520-1630).[6][7]

Academic career[]

Junqueras was professor of "Premodern History of East Asia" and "Bases of the Modern World at the Autonomous University of Barcelona's Department of Modern and Contemporary History.[4] He has been an advisor and scriptwriter to a variety of Catalan radio and television programmes on politics and history, including Conviure Amb el Risc, El Favorit (TV3, 2005), En Guàrdia and El Nas de Cleòpatra (Catalunya Ràdio), Els Maquis, La Guerra Silenciada and Minoría Absoluta and El Món (RAC 1).[4][6] He has co-authored several books including Els Catalans i Cuba (1998), La Batalla de l'Ebre (1999) and La Presó Model de Barcelona (2000).[4] He is a member of the Center Excursionista of Sant Vicenç dels Horts and Orfeó Vicentí.[4][6]

Political career[]

Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras signing the government agreement in December 2012

Junqueras contested the 2003 local elections as a Republican Left of Catalonia-Acord Municipal (ERC-AM) electoral alliance candidate in Sant Vicenç dels Horts but failed to get elected.[4][7][8] He contested the 2007 local elections as an ERC-AM candidate in Sant Vicenç dels Horts and was elected but the ERC-AM remained in opposition.[9] He was re-elected at the 2011 local elections as a Junts per Sant Vicenç (JuntsxSVH) electoral alliance candidate.[10] JuntsxSVH formed an administration with the Convergence and Union (CiU) and the Initiative for Catalonia Greens-United and Alternative Left (ICV-EUiA-E) and Junqueras became Mayor of Sant Vicenç dels Horts. He was re-elected at the 2015 local elections.[11]

Junqueras contested the 2009 European elections as a Europe of the Peoples–Greens (EdP–V) electoral alliance candidate and was elected to the European Parliament.[12] He became leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia in 2011.[13][14]

Junqueras contested the 2012 regional election as a Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes (ERC–CatSí) electoral alliance candidate in the Province of Barcelona and was elected to the Parliament of Catalonia.[15] In December 2012 the ERC and CiU reached an agreement whereby the ERC would support Artur Mas' minority government.[16][17][18] As part of the agreement an independence referendum would be held in 2014.[19][20] Despite the agreement, and protests form the Socialists and Greens, Junqueras was appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan Parliament in January 2013.[21]

Junqueras was re-elected at the 2015 regional election as a Junts pel Sí (JxSí) electoral alliance candidate.[22] In January 2016, following a last-minute agreement between pro-Catalan independence parties JxSí and Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) to replace Mas, Junqueras was appointed Vice President of Catalonia and Minister of Economy and Finance.[23][24][25][26]

Catalonia independence crisis[]

In June 2017 President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont announced that a referendum on Catalan independence would be held on 1 October 2017.[27][28] The Catalan Parliament passed legislation on 6 September 2017 authorising the referendum which would be binding and based on a simple majority without a minimum threshold.[29][30] The following day Constitutional Court of Spain suspended the legislation, blocking the referendum.[31][32] The Spanish government put into effect Operation Anubis in order to disrupt the organisation of the referendum and arrested Catalan government officials.[33][34] Despite this the referendum went ahead though it was boycotted by those opposing independence and turnout was only 43%.[35][36] 92% of those who voted supported independence.[37][38] Around 900 people were injured as the Spanish police used violence to try to prevent voting in the referendum.[39][40][41]

On 27 October 2017 the Catalan Parliament declared independence in a vote boycotted by opposition MPs.[42][43] Almost immediately the Senate of Spain invoked article 155 of the constitution, dismissing Puigdemont and the Catalan government and imposing direct rule on Catalonia.[44][45] The following day Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Catalan Parliament and called for fresh regional elections on 21 December 2017.[46][47] On 30 October 2017 Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza laid charges of rebellion, sion and misuse of public funds at the Audiencia Nacional against Puigdemont, Junqueras and other members of the Catalan government.[48][49] The charges carry maximum sentences of 30, 15 and 6 years in prison respectively.[50]

Imprisonment[]

Junqueras arrives at the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid on 2 November 2017

On 2 November 2017 Audiencia Nacional judge Carmen Lamela remanded in custody Junqueras and seven other Catalan ministers (Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borràs, Joaquim Forn, Carles Mundó, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull) as she considered them a flight risk.[51][52][53] The jailed ministers were separated and sent to five different prisons: Bassa and Borrás to Alcalá, Junqueras and Forn to Estremera, Mundó to Aranjuez prison, Romeva and Turull to Valdemoro and Rull to Navalcarnero.[54] A ninth minister, Santi Vila, was freed on bail as he had resigned from the government the day before the declaration of independence, but had to spend a night in Estremera prison whilst his lawyers secured his €50,000 bail.[55][56] According to their lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, the ministers were mistreated in a rough ride to prison.[57][58] They were allegedly handcuffed behind their backs without seat belts in a van going very fast, forced to listen to the Spanish national anthem on a loop and threatened by their guards.[58][59][60] Mundo allegedly suffered injuries due to the handcuffs and two ministers were allegedly forced to strip to prevent them carrying anything into prison.[58][59][60] Earlier, as the ministers arrived at the Audiencia Nacional, Spanish police officers were shown, in video obtained Reuters and published by the La Vanguardia, making sneering, homophobic comments about the ministers, with one officer saying "Wait till you see what they do to the little teddy bear", referring to Junqueras, "When they get him on all fours, they’ll fix his eye".[57][60][61][62][63]

On 1 December 2017 the eight jailed ministers and two jailed independence activists - Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez i Picanyol - appeared before Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to request bail while they await trial.[64] They renounced the declaration of independence, pledged support for the imposition of direct rule and agreed to work within the law.[65][66][67] On 4 December 2017 Llarena released, after 32 days in prison, six of the ministers (Bassa, Borrás, Mundó, Romeva, Rull and Turull) on bail of €100,000 but ordered that their passports be confiscated.[68][69] However, Junqueras and Forn, together with Cuixart and Sànchez, were refused bail.[70][71][72] In denying them bail, Llarena claimed that it remained to be seen if their pledge to abide by Spanish law was "truthful and real" and that there was a risk that they would commit the same crimes if released.[73][74][75]

Whilst remaining in prison, Junqueras contested the 2017 regional election as an ERC–CatSí electoral alliance candidate and was re-elected to Parliament.[76] At the election Catalan secessionists retained a slim majority in the Catalan Parliament.[77][78] Junqueras was denied bail on 5 January 2018 by Supreme Court judges Miguel Colmenero, Alberto Jorge Barreiro and Francisco Monterde who said that "there is no sign that the defendant has any intention of abandoning the route he has followed until now".[79][80][81] On 12 January 2018 Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena denied permission for Junqueras to attend the opening session of the Catalan Parliament, or for him to be transferred to a Catalan prison so that he could be closer to his relatives, but opened the way for him to vote by proxy.[82][83] When the Catalan Parliament met on 17 January 2018 it allowed the three jailed MPs - Forn, Junqueras and Sànchez - to vote by proxy, with Marta Rovira voting for Junqueras.[84][85]

On March 7, 2018 the High Commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reminded Spanish authorities that "pre-trial detention should be considered a measure of last resort" referring to Catalan politicians and activists arrested after the independence referendum.[86]

Personal life[]

Junqueras married school teacher Neus Bramona in 2013.[87][88] They have a son, Lluc, and a daughter, Joana.[89][90]

Works[]

Electoral history[]

Electoral history of Oriol Junqueras
Election Constituency Party Alliance No. Result
2003 local[8] Sant Vicenç dels Horts Republican Left of Catalonia Republican Left of Catalonia-Acord Municipal Not elected
2007 local[9] Sant Vicenç dels Horts Republican Left of Catalonia Republican Left of Catalonia-Acord Municipal 1 Elected
2009 European[12] Spain Republican Left of Catalonia Europe of the Peoples–Greens 1 Elected
2011 local[10] Sant Vicenç dels Horts Republican Left of Catalonia Junts per Sant Vicenç 1 Elected
2012 regional[15] Province of Barcelona Republican Left of Catalonia Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes 1 Elected
2015 local[11] Sant Vicenç dels Horts Republican Left of Catalonia Junts per Sant Vicenç 1 Elected
2015 regional[22] Province of Barcelona Republican Left of Catalonia Junts pel Sí 5 Elected
2017 regional[76] Province of Barcelona Republican Left of Catalonia Republican Left of Catalonia–Catalonia Yes 1 Elected

References[]

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External links[]

Political offices
Preceded by
Amparo Piqueras Manzano
Mayor of Sant Vicenç dels Horts
2011–2015
Succeeded by
Mayte Aymerich
Preceded by
Neus Munté
Vice President of the Catalan Government
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Suspended
Preceded by
Andreu Mas-Colell
Regional Minister of Economy and Finance
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Suspended