Politics 02/04/2021

Illa will call for an investiture bid and asks for "courage" from ERC to explore an "alternative" sum

He will propose his name to Borràs in the second round of contacts, which the president of the chamber will begin after Easter

3 min
Salvador Illa

BarcelonaThe leader of the PSC Salvador Illa has never renounced to present his project of government in a debate of investiture although he does not have the necessary supports to become president. After the failure of the attempt of the republican leader, Pere Aragonès -who became the candidate with the least support in an investiture debate since the restitution of the Catalan Parliament-, Illa considers that his turn has come. In an interview with Efe, the head of list of the PSC has assured that he will again ask the president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, to propose his name when she reopens, after Easter, a new round of consultations with the groups. The leader of the PSC, in fact, already asked for it in the first round of contacts with the parties, but Borràs decided that Aragonès had more possibilities.

Illa, however, insists on running. "The socialists, as winners of the elections, we feel legitimised, even with the obligation, to try to build an alternative", he argued. Illa has also launched an appeal to En Comú Podem to ensure his support this time, after Jéssica Albiach announced in the first round of contacts that her group would vote against both a proposal from Aragonès that included JxCat and a candidacy of Illa without the necessary support. Illa, however, does not give up and has sent a direct message to the comuns: "There comes a time in politics that one must publicly commit to building an alternative and being part of it".

The socialist leader, however, knows that the support of the comuns is not enough, and therefore has also knocked on the door of ERC. Illa has asked the Republicans to have "courage", to admit that their alliance with JxCat has failed and to explore an "alternative" sum of the left. "It is as simple as saying in public what is said in private", has insinuated the socialist, who has insisted that "there is a left-wing majority in the Parliament" -PSC, ERC and the comuns add 74 seats and, therefore, the obstacle to address an alternative to a new pro-independence pact is not a question of "arithmetic, but of will".

The alternative routes

Does this alternative formula exist, however? Both the comuns and the socialists agree that the only alternative is for the left to come together and join forces. However, they disagree on how this "left-wing alternative" should be translated. Illa proposes forming a coalition government with the comuns that has the external support of ERC - in the last investiture debate he asked the independents to take "a step to the side". This formula would emulate the structure of the Spanish government, a recipe that Illa believes has already been proven to work. If the comuns would agree, he would come across another obstacle: the veto of the independentists, who pledged in the campaign not to agree with the PSC. For the investiture of Illa to work, in fact, it is necessary that either ERC or Junts agree to facilitate it, since even with the votes of all the unionist bench - although Vox has always said it would not vote for Illa - and the support of the comuns the PSC would not achieve the simple majority needed in a second round.

Precisely because they believe that ERC would never support either a Socialist government or any alternative that does not include them in the Executive, the comuns prioritise the PSC facilitating a coalition government that they would form with the Republicans. In practice, however, the comuns have always verbalised that the formulas are diverse and that they are open to studying all of them. Thus, if, against all odds, the PSC were to convince ERC to facilitate Illa's presidency, the comuns would not be averse to joining this executive. However, for everything to happen, Borràs has to endorse Illa's candidacy so that (unlike in the previous round) it can be submitted to an investiture debate.