The political reality beyond declarations

2 min
Pere Aragonés in the Parliament during a general policy debate

En Comú publicly positioned themselves as government allies in the vote on the budget, but the in-depth analysis of the votes in this parliament done by ARA indicates that, in practice and beyond the declarations of intentions, they were already a preferential partner. Pere Aragonès's executive has passed 21 votes on decrees and bills this legislature, and in 17 it has done so with En Comú's endorsement –four of which were needed abstentions–, ahead of the PSC –13, three of them needed abstentions– and the CUP –9–, in third place.

Looking beyond the government initiatives, it can be seen that in Parliament En Comú is the Government's main partner. They voted most often in the same way as ERC and JxCat: 550 times, 61% of the total. Behind them come CUP (58%) and the PSC (54%). The difference in percentages in the overall voting is quite small because it is clear that the Catalan government seeks different allies for the big issues, despite what they say publicly.

What is evident is that in politics public declarations do not necessarily coincide with real practice, as these figures indicate. The current parliamentary arithmetic, besides forcing ERC and Junts to understand each other, forces them to negotiate with other parties if they do not want to fall into an immobility that can only harm the country. The Government, in the currently mired in a pandemic and an economic crisis, with Catalan language in decline and the threat of recentralisation by state parties with optimistic projections, cannot afford to stand still. It has to do politics.

Added to this situation is the fact that the executive, moreover, is formed by a rather weak coalition, in practice, based on a complicated relationship between two competing forces that often look at each other with rancour. ERC and JxCat have to find a way to understand each other and continue to move forward if this coalition is to have a future, and at the moment it is at the very least questionable whether they are succeeding at all. As elections approach, this relationship may become even more complicated, if not unfeasible, when the two parties seek to differentiate themselves in the eyes of citizens.

En Comú, and not the CUP, is at this point the closest thing to a preferred partner for the coalition of ERC and JxCat. This situation may change, although it is difficult for the anti-capitalists to be the main pillar of the executive for the remainder of the legislature. In any case, Catalan politics continues to be immersed in a volatility that does not help it when it comes to building a long-term future, and even less with the prospect of the possible shift to the right of state politics. It is time to ask ourselves if there are any parties that, beyond electoral objectives for the next parliament, have a strategy for the country based on reality and the long term, which is what Catalonia really needs.