A stranded investiture at the worst moment

2 min
Pere Aragonès and Laura Borràs this Tuesday in the political conference of JxCat

This Friday at 10 o'clock in the Parliament of Catalonia the debate and the first vote for the investiture of Pere Aragonès as president of the Generalitat will begin despite the lack of an agreement between ERC, Junts and CUP. At the moment, with CUP members yet to ratify their party's pre-agreement with ERC, candidate Aragonès would only secure ERC's 33 votes and CUP's 9, far from the 68 needed. The cause is that ERC and Junts have not succeeded in reaching an agreement in the five weeks that have passed since Feb 14 elections, despite the fact that it was already taken for granted that the next Government would be formed by these two parties. Without going into the degree of responsibility of each of the actors in the lack of agreement, the first thing to say is that it is terrible news that, in the midst of the pandemic and with the country still waiting to embark on the road to economic recovery, there is still no agreement or, at least, a pre-agreement between the two parties.

The times called for more far-sightedness and a quick agreement to put all the machinery of the Generalitat at the service of the fight against the pandemic and economic reconstruction. Unfortunately, however, and unless there is a big surprise in next few hours, everything points to Aragonès losing the first vote. This obstacle could be overcome if in the second vote, either on Sunday or Tuesday, the investiture goes ahead and the Government can be constituted before Easter. However, two failed votes and the opening of a period of two months before the automatic call for elections would be a failure that would damage the image of independence even further.

One of the issues that prevents an agreement at this point is the role that the Consell per la República should play. Junts wants this body, chaired by Carles Puigdemont, to direct the pro-independence strategy, while ERC is wary of it because it considers it to be biased. It is clear that the figure of former president Carles Puigdemont, who has proven to be a very valuable asset on the Independence bid's international front, must be safeguarded, but it is also true that, since Artur Mas initiated the bid in 2012, the leadership of the bid has implicitly fallen at all times on the figure of the president of the Generalitat, who is democratically empowered by the Parliament, where popular sovereignty resides, and is the institutional interlocutor recognised by other parties. From this point of view, there may be debating or consultative bodies, but decisions, as in all democracies, correspond to the government and the president.

Therefore, we will have to be generous and creative in order to find a solution on this point that will allow the independence movement to challenge the State in the different spheres, internally and externally. But at the same time we will have to keep the institutions focused on the objective of improving the lives of the seven and a half million Catalans, with the aim of having a cohesive country at an extremely difficult time. And that's why the first thing we need to do is to invest a president.