Scandal in Catalonia
Jordi Pujol's confession undermines Catalans' hopes of independence
IT IS not the narrative that Catalan separatists hoped for as they face a stand-off with the Madrid government over a planned independence vote in November. Instead of a debate about evil Castilian conquistadors, their cause has been overshadowed by a scandal over a fallen hero, Jordi Pujol, who served for six terms as leader of Catalonia.
加泰罗尼亚的分裂主义者希望能够通过11月计划的独立投票脱离马德里政府，这并非是道听途说。但是，人们并未声讨邪恶的卡斯提尔征服者，他们的注意力全被坠落的英雄人物—Jordi Pujol的丑闻吸引了。Jordi Pujol曾是加泰罗尼亚连续六届的领导人。
Four weeks ago Mr Pujol admitted that his family had hidden money in Switzerland for the past 35 years. “We never found the right moment to declare it,” he said breezily. The confession comes at an awkward time. Mr Pujol's hand-picked successor as head of his Convergence and Union (CiU) group, and Catalonia's current leader, Artur Mas, has promised a referendum on November 9th. Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, will ban it. Separatists hoped this would swell their ranks. But now all the talk is of the 84-year-old Mr Pujol, a political giant in his region.
4周前，Pujol承认其家族在过去的35年内一直在往瑞士的银行里藏钱。他轻声说：“我们一直找不到适当的时机宣布这一事情”。他在一个尴尬的时刻发表了这个声明。Pujol精挑细选的继任者，汇合党的主席和加泰罗尼亚目前的领导人Artur Mas之前承诺将于11月9日发起公民投票。西班牙总理Mariano Rajoy马里亚诺·拉霍伊·布雷将禁止这一活动。分裂主义者希望这能够提高他们的排名。但是现在所有的话题都集中在该阵营的政治巨擘，84岁的Pujol身上。
The man who set Catalonia on a path from no self-government to an annual budget of 25.5 billion ($33.9 billion, about half of Ireland's) liked to be called “president” or “the most honourable”. A foundation bearing his name specialises in ethics. In 23 years as president until 2003, he became a master at persuading Catalans that they were victims of Madrid. The battle cry of the independence campaign is that the rest of Spain steals Catalan taxes and wastes them on lazy southerners. Now Mr Pujol himself has been found hiding his own stash of cash.
Other family members are under investigation. A son, also called Jordi, goes before a judge in mid-September to answer questions about tax fraud and money-laundering after a girlfriend accused him of carrying bags of 500 notes to Andorra. Another son, Oriol, has quit as secretary-general of the senior partner in the CiU group, Catalan Democratic Convergence: an investigating judge suspects him of taking bribes. A legion of longtime Pujol-haters in Spain are dancing on the dynasty's political grave and hoping that this may kill the referendum.
The scandal will hurt Mr Mas, but it does not sink separatism. He is being tugged in opposite directions by his referendum pledge. His more moderate coalition partner, Democratic Catalan Union (UDC), has threatened to quit. The ardently separatist Catalan Republican Left (ERC), which props up his minority government, wants him to defy Madrid by calling an illegal referendum if need be. It also demands an inquiry if Mr Pujol does not appear before the Catalan parliament.
Mr Mas may hold an early election that serves as a proxy for a vote on independence. Carme Forcadell, leader of a Catalan pressure group that has driven the separatist surge, insists on this if Mr Rajoy blocks the referendum. But opinion polls show CiU trailing ERC. The Pujol affair will damage it further. If the UDC walks out, Mr Mas's party may be hammered.
Mas可能会举行一个前期选举以选出独立的代言人。推进分离主义的加泰罗尼亚压力集团的首领Carme Forcadell 坚信这一点（如果Rajoy阻碍公投的话）。但民意调查显示汇合党远远落后于加泰罗尼亚民主共和党。Pujol事件对其伤害更深。如果UDC退席，Mas政党的发展将遇到巨大阻碍。
A test of separatist feeling will come on September 11th, Catalonia's national day. In previous years Ms Forcadell's group has called out millions to demand an independence vote. This year's protest may be less impressive. Those who want a new deal with Spain but dislike full independence may stay away. Anger about the economy, a source of many gripes, is dimming, but the Pujol scandal will spread disillusion. The man who built up Catalan national pride is now undermining it.