Aragonès trusts Borràs will make a decision based on a "vocation of public service"

President sends a first message to the Speaker but avoids specifying what she should do

3 min
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, this Wednesday during the control session.

BarcelonaThe court case that affects Speaker Laura Borràs starred in today's parliamentary session. The issue was brought up by the PP and Vox, who requested the Speaker's immediate resignation, but the main result is that they have forced president Aragonès to comment on the case during Government questions. The issue is quite thorny for Aragonès, as it strains the relationship between coalition partners ERC and JxCat. Aragonès avoided saying precisely what Borràs should do, but he has sent a first message: "I am sure that everyone will make the decision best suited to their vocation of public service".

What exactly does he mean by this? For now it is only clear that the president has asked that if finally the Speaker does end up appearing in court, she should make a move. He has not yet said in which direction, aware that this is highly flammable material for the executive's stability. What the president certainly did not do is to buy into JxCat's story, which claims Borràs's case is another example of political repression. Aragonès's party, ERC, has already made it clear on more than one occasion that they consider it all to be "alleged corruption". This Wednesday ERC's number two in the Spanish Parliament, Carolina Telecha, also spoke along these lines, Mireia Esteve reports: "We must make it clear that the repressive lawsuits are one thing and Borràs's case is another. We must not harm the independence movement with other types of cases," she said from Parliament.

Be that as it may, Aragonès decided to go no further, aware that the case is far from over and that the matter will not gain pace until the judge confirms Borràs will have to appear in court. This is unlikely to happen before the autumn. Aragonès said that out of respect for "the separation of powers" it was up to the Parliament and not the Govern to focus on this issue, and that he could only appeal to the "good service of the institution" and the defence of its prestige. Borràs has only intervened to moderate the debate, but yesterday she already made it clear that in no case would she resign.

It has also become clear that the opposition will try to wear the Govern down with this issue, especially from the right. Catalan PP leader Alejandro Fernández has called for Borràs's resignation and has recalled the chamber's own regulations provide for the suspension of MPs affected by corruption cases . On the other hand, the far right Vox has accused the independence movement of being "corrupt" and "degrading" institutions. "They use institutions to serve the few in a partisan way," said Ignacio Garriga.

United by language

In spite of the fact that Junts and ERC have already given more than one sign of heading towards a head-on clash over the Borràs affair, this Wednesday in Parliament they have only discussed issues that more or less unite them. Aragonès and the leader of Junts, Albert Batet, coincided in celebrating Catalonia's High Court's latest decision on the use of Catalan in schools, where it admits the 25%-in-Spanish ruling cannot be enforced. "We must vindicate the policy and Parliament's sovereignty," said Batet. The High Court decision is a first victory for the defenders of linguistic immersion, but now it is the Constitutional Court which will have to rule on it. Aragonès has said that he is confident he will also emerge victorious there, since there are two rulings by the Council of Statutory Guarantees which state that the new Catalan regulations are constitutional. "And unanimously," the president stressed.

The Government, alone

The control session also confirmed that the Government has ever fewer allies in Parliament. Apart from reproaches from the right, which are always taken for granted, the Speaker has seen how En Comú, CUP and PSC have also distanced themselves from the government. En Comú blasted the health management of the pandemic while CUP railed against the "dismantling" of public services. PSC leader Salvador Illa criticised the management of European funds: "You have disappointed me", he said. All this on the day that Catalan Finance minister Jaume Giró announced that he would shortly begin a round of contacts to seek allies to pass the 2023 budget. Right now none seem to be coming forward.