Legal Unity and Political Unity: Catalonia and the constitutional crisis

Miss Adara Cifre Eberhardt

This proposal aims to analyse the Catalonian crisis from the perspective offered by the classic debate between Carl Schmitt and Hans Kelsen concerning the grounds of the constitution. This debate provides a useful insight into the political nature of the legal order with regard to the conflict between Spain and Catalonia. I defend that the problem lies in the premise of a pre-legal political unity in the Spanish Constitution of 1978. From a Kelsenian perspective, this Constitution could have been violated by the Referendum Act of 2017; Still, the possibility of constitutional reform is not an unreasonable option. The ‘Catalan problem’ reveals a clash of legitimacies in the Schmittian sense, and puts into question the grounds of the Spanish Constitution.