Jordi Pujol

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Jordi Pujol
Jordi Pujol - Fotografia oficial.jpg
Pujol during his Presidency
126th President of the Government of Catalonia
In office
28 April 1980 – 17 December 2003
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Preceded byJosep Tarradellas
Succeeded byPasqual Maragall
Minister without Portfolio
In office
5 December 1977 – 24 April 1980
Serving with Antoni Gutiérrez Díaz, Joan Reventós, Carles Sentís and Josep Mª Triginer
PresidentJosep Tarradellas
Preceded byNew title
Succeeded byPost abolished
Member of the Parliament of Catalonia
for the Province of Barcelona
In office
10 April 1980 – 23 September 2003
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
15 June 1977 – 12 March 1980
ConstituencyBarcelona
Personal details
Born (1930-06-09) 9 June 1930 (age 88)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
NationalitySpanish
Political partyCiU (CDC)
Spouse(s)Marta Ferrusola
ChildrenSeven children
Signature

Jordi Pujol i Soley (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈʒɔɾði puˈʒɔl i suˈlɛj], born 9 June 1930) is a Spanish politician who was the leader of the party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) from 1974 to 2003, and President of the Generalitat de Catalunya from 1980 to 2003.

Early life[edit]

Pujol was born in Barcelona, studied at the German School of Barcelona and received a medical degree from the University of Barcelona. During his college years, he joined different activist groups that were seeking to rebuild the ideal Catalonia that the Spanish Civil War and Franco's dictatorship had undermined. Among these organizations were Grup Torras i Bages (where he met other activists such as Jaume Carner or Joan Reventós), Comissió Abat Oliva, Grup Pere Figuera or Cofradia de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat de Virtèlia.[1]

In 1960, in the course of an homage to Catalan poetist Joan Maragall, held in Palau de la Música Catalana, part of the audience sang the Cant de la Senyera (The Song of the Flag in English) despite being previously prohibited by the Spanish authorities. Jordi Pujol was among those who organized this protest, and he was captured and detained for his protests against the regime of Francisco Franco.[2] He was sentenced to seven years in prison, accused of organizing the opposition campaign. However, he got out after spending two and a half years in jail, and immediately started a new line of political activity with the slogan "building the country". This aimed to raise Catalans' national awareness and create the necessary cultural and financial institutions for the development of Catalonia.

Invention of the Neobacitrin ointment[edit]

As a physician, Pujol was inventor of the antibiotic ointment Neobacitrin while working in the family-run laboratory Fides Cuatrecasas.[3][4][5] Later this ointment achieved great success and is still used today.

Political career and President of Catalonia[edit]

In 1974, he passed definitively to the political sphere on founding the political party called Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia in English), of which he was the first Secretary. The political party was not legalized until 1977, during the Spanish transition to democracy after Franco's death in November 1975.

From 1977 to 1980, Pujol was Minister without portfolio in the Provisional government of Catalonia, presided by Josep Tarradellas. In 1977 he led Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya, a coalition of Catalan parties that were trying to approve the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. In the Spanish general election of 1977 he was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies, representing Barcelona. Pujol was re-elected at the 1979 General Election but resigned from the parliament in 1980.

On 20 March 1980, the first Parliament of Catalonia elections after Franco's regime were held. The Catalan nationalist party Convergència i Unió (coalition of CDC and Democratic Union of Catalonia) won the elections and Jordi Pujol was elected President of the Generalitat de Catalunya on 24 April 1980. He was reelected again in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1995 and 1999.

Pujol is an avid supporter of European integration. In 1985, he started a collaboration with Edgar Faure in the Council of the Regions of Europe (CRE), which would later become the Assembly of European Regions (AER). Pujol was the President of the Assembly of European Regions from 1992 to 1996.[6]

Pujol retired in 2003, ending 23 years of service as the President of Catalonia. He left the head of the party (CDC) to Artur Mas.

In 2003 he gave to Biblioteca de Catalunya the bibliographic collection assembled during his presidency of Catalonia, with more than 16,000 documents.

Pujol and Catalan nationalism[edit]

During the last decades of the Franco regime and his 23 years as President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Jordi Pujol pertained to the majority establishment in Catalan nationalism, which, instead of seeking a fully independent republic, intended to work towards a federalized Spain that would, according to Pujol, recognize Catalonia "as a country, as a collective with its own personality and differences," and a "guarantee that her own identity be respected".[7]

However, with the conservative People's Party opposing the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, as well as the recognition for the language in the east of Aragon, Pujol has stated that, at least shortly before the Spanish transition to democracy, "there is more aggression towards Catalonia than ever", and that Catalans can "no longer hope for anything from the Spanish state".[7]

A lifelong federalist, Pujol has recently become very disenfranchised by the Spanish political arena. He also has recently stated, regarding the recent surge of Catalan separatism that more people than ever want independence, "and they are right to want it."[8]

Personal life[edit]

He married Marta Ferrusola in Santa Maria de Montserrat in 1956 and the couple have seven children.[9]

Corruption scandals[edit]

In July 2014, Jordi Pujol released a note explaining that for 34 years, including 23 as the President of Catalonia, he had maintained secret foreign bank accounts inherited from his father. The note apologized for his actions and explained that the millions had been declared and taxes paid. The scandal erupted in the Spanish media as it involves allegations against many family members, including trafficking of influence, bribery, money laundering and public corruption. At this time, his sons Jordi and Oleguer Pujol Ferrusola are being investigated by tax authorities. Another son Oriol Pujol resigned from his leadership position in CiU earlier in the month to face charges of public corruption as well. As a direct result of Pujol's admission on 29 July, Judge Pablo Ruz issued an indictment against Jordi Pujol Ferrusola and his wife for money laundering and tax evasion. [10] [11] [12][13][14]

On 29 July Catalan president Mas, after a meeting with Pujol i Soley, announced that Pujol renounced both his salary and the office that he had been assigned as ex-president, as well as the honorary title of founding chairman of CDC and CiU.[15] The opposition parties from both left and right, nationalist and non-nationalist, have demanded he testify before the parliament. The main government allies in the Catalan parliament, Esquerra Republicana, have declared that they support stripping Pujol of all his honors.[16] The Catalan government has declared this a "private matter" that will have no impact on the movement for Catalan independence and the referendum scheduled for 9 November 2014.[17] In announcing his resignation from all party offices, President Mas initially stated that Pujol would keep the right to be called "The Right Honorable" as a former president of Catalonia.[18] Hours later the party spokesperson Francesc Homs stated that Pujol must "forfeit everything," including the Medalla de Oro of Catalunya and all honorifics previously awarded to him.[19] Indicative of the conflicted reaction of many Catalan nationalists, his personal friend Xavier Trias, the Mayor of Barcelona, lamented on Catalonia Radio "He must disappear...He failed us. It is a disaster that has taken place and the shadowy times of Pujol are finished while a new era begins."[20] Perhaps no one is more deeply conflicted than current President Mas who has acknowledged that Pujol is his "political father" and has stated that "he does not know the details and he is not interested in them either." [21] The impact of the Pujol family scandals on the Catalan independence movement, the CIU party and Mas' political future remain to be seen.[22]

Pujol and his family have been suspected for many years of cashing in on the political power he amassed as a 23-year president of Catalonia. In 1984 his family's bank went bankrupt and was taken over by the Spanish government. His children have amassed a fortune in private businesses that frequently did business and received contracts from the Catalan government. Pujol's wife and children have investments in the tens of millions of dollars in Mexico, Panama and Argentina. Financial records show the movement of money between foreign banks in Andorra, Switzerland, Jersey, Cayman Islands and other tax havens in excess of €100 million. Critics, including Jordi Pujol Ferrusola's former girlfriend, charge that this family wealth could not be accumulated from a family inheritance or successful business practices.[23][24] Ever since the 1984 bankruptcy of Banca Catalana, as well as in subsequent years, whenever corruption allegations were made against Pujol, his supporters claimed that the charges were politically motivated against Catalonia.[11][25]

The matter is still under investigation in 2017.[26][27]

Impact[edit]

In early September 2014, public opinion polls began to show a measurable impact of the Pujol scandals on Catalan politics and public opinion. According to a poll conducted by El Periodico, a Catalan newspaper, 55% of Catalan voters believe the scandals will negatively affect the "right to decide" on November 9.[28] El Pais, a Madrid newspaper, likewise found in its polling that 54% of Catalans believe that the corruption scandals are having a negative effect on the independence movement.[29] In addition, over 78% of those Catalans polled by El Periodico believed that the Pujol family had collected illegal payments for government contracts habitually.[28] In anticipation of the 11 September national holiday, the Diada, as well as the planned November 9 vote, the political strategies of the major parties are in flux. Pujol's old party has moved to a position of both welcoming (and limiting) his testimony in the Catalan parliament and reasserting that the critics are seeking political advantage from the investigations.[30] Through its public statements the party is trying to remain optimistic about holding the vote while at the same time recognizing that the planned consultation may be deemed unconstitutional by Spain's Constitutional court. While the difficulty of maintaining the sovereignty alliance, and the competing demands of legality and democracy, is undeniably challenging for President Mas, his political decision-making has become increasingly difficult due to the Pujol scandals.[31]

On 5 September 2014 The Jordi Pujol Center for Studies announced its closing. The Center had been the major focus of Pujol's work in retirement sponsoring different academic activities related to ethics and disseminating his political philosophy. The Catalan government and many private sources of income ended their affiliations and it was decided that it was no longer a viable entity in light of the scandals.[32][33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A biography of Jordi Pujol - Activist". www.jordipujol.cat. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  2. ^ "Pujol rememora los 'Fets del Palau', la "primera victoria radical" del catalanismo en 1960". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  3. ^ Uriach, Joan (18 October 2011). "MemÃ2ries del doctor Biodramina". Edicions 62 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Martínez, Félix; Oliveres, Jordi (22 July 2018). "Jordi Pujol: en nombre de Cataluña". Random House Mondadori – via Google Books.
  5. ^ ""Les memòries del doctor Biodramina", un repàs a la medicina d'abans".
  6. ^ "Jordi Pujol habla en el Auditorio CAM de Alicante sobre el eje Mediterráneo y su fuerte convicción europeista" (in Spanish). www.cam.es. January 18, 2010. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Ja no podem esperar res de l'Estat espanyol". Avui (in Catalan). May 16, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Jordi Pujol: "Estem exclosos del projecte global espanyol"". Avui (in Catalan). April 24, 2010. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  9. ^ Martínez, Félix; Oliveres, Jordi. Jordi Pujol: en nombre de Cataluña [Jordi Pujol: in the name of Catalonia] (in Spanish). Editorial Debate. p. 432. ISBN 84-8306-599-1.
  10. ^ "Montoro atribuye el anuncio de Pujol a las actuaciones".
  11. ^ a b Valls, Francesc (26 July 2014). "Opinión - Dinastía Pujol" – via elpais.com.
  12. ^ "Investigan por blanqueo varias operaciones de Oleguer Pujol".
  13. ^ BARCELONA, MAIKA NAVARRO / MADRIDJ. G. ALBALAT / (28 July 2014). "Anticorrupción amplía el 'caso Pujol' y abre diligencias a otro hijo".
  14. ^ Madrid, MAYKA NAVARRO / (29 July 2014). "El juez Ruz imputa a Jordi Pujol Ferrusola por presunto blanqueo y delito fiscal".
  15. ^ "Press release" (in Spanish). Europa Press. 29 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Jordi Pujol deberá comparecer en el Parlament a petición de toda la oposición".
  17. ^ Blanchar, Clara (28 July 2014). "Mas-Colell sobre la revelación de Pujol: "No debe dañar nada"" – via elpais.com.
  18. ^ "Mas desvincula el caso de Jordi Pujol de la consulta:".
  19. ^ MASREAL, FIDEL (29 July 2014). "Homs confirma que Pujol no tendrá el título de "Molt Honorable"".
  20. ^ "Trias:".
  21. ^ Barcelona, FIDEL MASREAL / (29 July 2014). "Mas pacta con Pujol la retirada de sus atribuciones en CiU y como 'expresident'".
  22. ^ Roger, Maiol; Romero, José Manuel (1 August 2014). "Catalan nationalists shun former leader Pujol to save sovereignty process" – via elpais.com.
  23. ^ García, Jesús (26 July 2014). "Pujol defiende el origen lícito del patrimonio de sus hijos" – via elpais.com.
  24. ^ Ríos, Pere (12 July 2014). "Los 15 millones en cinco días de Jordi Pujol Ferrusola y su esposa" – via elpais.com.
  25. ^ "La obsesión del 'president' - cataluna - EL MUNDO".
  26. ^ "The Police have handed to the National Court judge José de la Mata an eight Giga pendrive (USB memory stick) which supposedly contains revelations over the 'origin of the fortune surrounding the Jordi Pujol family'". 9 February 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  27. ^ "The 'lost' pendrive of the Pujols contains their business plan for Africa (in Spanish)". 23 February 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  28. ^ a b BARCELONA, XABIER BARRENA / (6 September 2014). "El 55% de catalanes cree que el 'caso Pujol' afectará al 9-N".
  29. ^ Noguer, Miquel (6 September 2014). "Los catalanes, a favor de acatar la ley" – via elpais.com.
  30. ^ Roger, Maiol (2 September 2014). "La Generalitat acusa a Montoro de "usar el Estado para fines partidistas"" – via elpais.com.
  31. ^ Roger, Maiol (3 September 2014). "El desaire de Pujol al Parlament ahonda la crisis en Convergència" – via elpais.com.
  32. ^ Roger, Maiol (8 September 2014). "Pujol desmantela su centro de estudios, dedicado a la ética y a los valores" – via elpais.com.
  33. ^ "La Fundación de Jordi Pujol anuncia su disolución".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Josep Tarradellas
In exile from 1954 to 1977
President of the Government of Catalonia
1980 – 2003
Succeeded by
Pasqual Maragall
Preceded by
New title
Minister Without Portfolio
With Antoni Guitérrez Diaz, Joan Reventós,

Carles Sentís and Josep Mª Traginer
1977–1980

Succeeded by
Post Abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
New title
Secretary-General of CDC
1974 – 1989
Succeeded by
Miquel Roca i Junyent
Preceded by
Ramon Trias Fargas
President of CDC
1989 – 2012
Succeeded by
Artur Mas