A Government that will have to prove its solidity
There is no doubt that, given the damage that a repeat election would have caused, the agreement announced on Monday between ERC and JxCat to form a coalition government is good news. However, neither of the two parties can be happy with how talks had gone until the decisive meetings of this weekend, and, in fact, both have apologised to the public. The fact is that at this stage of the negotiations, and seeing the parties' inability to come to an agreement, many people had switched off from politics and disaffection is growing. New elections would have been a coin toss with a very uncertain outcome.
For this reason, despite the words of the future president Pere Aragonès assuring that the new government will be "strong" and "cohesive", there are reasons to distrust this agonising agreement. The main reason is, considering what the negotiations have been like, the feeling that the distance between the two parties has become even greater. And, in fact, Aragonès assured on the 8th that ERC was committed to forming a solo government and renounced to continuing negotiations with Junts. Faced with the electoral abyss, however, the two have given in to facilitate the agreement. Thus, ERC has renounced the solo government (which also required Junts' votes), while Puigdemont's party has agreed to leave for later the negotiation of the pro-independence strategy and its place in the Consell per la República
In exchange, Aragonès will preside a coalition government with the ministries divided 50-50 (seven for each party), in which Junts has taken the key departments to direct both the end of the pandemic (Health) and the way out of the crisis (Economy, with European funds, and Social Rights). On the other hand, for the first time, ERC has taken on a ministry as complex as Home Affairs, retains Education and will manage Business and the competences on sustainability in a new macro-department to be called Climate Action, Agriculture and Food.
This new government will have to demonstrate its solidity from day one and prove that it is different from the one presided over by Quim Torra, which was characterised by a lack of initiative and constant infighting between the two parties. In this sense, the key to success will be the good functioning of the Aragonés-Artadi tandem as president and vice-president. Here there are reasons for optimism, since they are two people who know each other and know the administration, who have worked together and who share the values of good government. The main weight of the Government's major challenges and its immediate duties must fall on them, beginning with the end of the health crisis and leading the country's economic reconstruction in the new post-pandemic paradigm.
If the two are capable of shielding the executive from external influences and making it work at full capacity, this government will have a future. And if, furthermore, the pro-independence parties are capable of reaching a consensus on a realistic political strategy and of forging broad consensus with the opposition forces (basically En Comú and the PSC), the agony of the negotiations will have been worth it.