Politics 28/04/2022

ERC will vote against emergency economic measures, which will be passed with Bildu's support

ERC joins JxCat and CUP and punishes the Spanish government over Catalangate

2 min

MadridThe contacts between Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Spanish Socialists (PSOE) in the aftermath of Catalangate scandal have not been successful and the Republicans have decided to punish the Spanish government and will vote against the measures to counter the economic effects of the war in Ukraine. Tension has been rising in the last few days, but it spiked yesterday following minister of Defence Margarita Robles 's words justifying spying on pro-independence supporters. JxCat and CUP will also vote against the decree.

Even so, the measures will in all likelihood be approved since Bildu has announced it will vote in favour. Its spokesperson, Mertxe Aizpurua, has argued "citizens should not have to pay for the mistakes of this government". The government had also made a last-minute move to try to obtain the PP's support.

In the Spanish Parliament, it was the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, who defended the measures. He also said that the vote was not on the government's future: "Today this is not about the government but about the citizens who gave you your seat to help them in their lives. Those who vote against are harming citizens with the sole purpose of harming the government". The decree includes measures such as the 20-cents per litre rebate on petrol, the 2% cap on the increase of rents and tax reductions on the price of electricity.

ERC's decision opens a schism between the Catalan and Spanish governments. Yesterday Catalan president Pere Aragonès called for the Minister of Defence's resignation . "She is politically incapacitated," he said. In a statement, ERC says they have taken the decision after the Spanish government "did not take responsibility for the Pegasus case" and warn that this is a "first warning to the Spanish government." "For starters, the minister responsible for this scandal has to resign. None of that has happened so far," they assert.

Even so, ERC avoids burning all its bridges with the Socialists and assures that it will continue to hold "an outstretched hand to promote measures to support the people" and that they continue to champion "negotiation to resolve the political conflict". Of course, this negotiation must take place with "minimum guarantees". With today's decision, what is at stake is stable parliamentary support for the Spanish government. In the coming days it will be necessary to see if the crisis caused by espionage is redirected or if a new phase of the Spanish legislature is entered.

JxCat and the CUP

Together for Catalonia (JxCat) spokesperson, Míriam Nogueras, has also defended opposing the decree: "The Independence movement cannot give away stability to a government that spies on us". Nogueras has asked JxCat, ERC and CUP oppose this regulation as a definitive step to end the dialogue with the Spanish government. "Let the fictitious dialogue with these people, who neither love us nor respect us, end now. It is a dialogue that does not find and will never find a date on the calendar," she added.

CUP MP Albert Botran wondered: "How can we trust a government that in the face of obvious evidence of espionage does nothing or, worse, is proud of it?" The PDECat, on the other hand, will vote in favour of the decree because it considers that the Catalangate has to be separated from the measures that affect citizens's lives. Bel, however, has described Robles' statements yesterday as "unpresentable".

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