Investiture debate
Politics 20/05/2021

Aragonès promotes Scottish path to overcome the deadlock

He pledges to "culminate" independence but warns he will do it through dialogue

4 min
Pere Aragonés arriving at the Parliament

BarcelonaPere Aragonès will be elected 132nd president of the Generalitat this Friday. Before, however, he has to stand as a presidential candidate in parliament once again. This time, though, he has secured the votes of JxCat and CUP to win. Reassured, ERC's candidate has again spoken of "inevitably culminating" independence, but has specified his methods are not unilateral. He will not seek to repeat the 2017 events. Aragonès believes the Scottish way is the best: dialogue, political negotiation with the State and agreed referendum. "I want to do as Scotland did in 2014 and I would like the Spanish state to know how to do as the United Kingdom did", he concluded, recalling that agreed referendum, which the Scots lost then and which they now want to hold again

The national coordinator of ERC will be president thanks to the votes of two parties, JxCat and the CUP. Both are sceptical of the possibility of reaching agreements and prefer to talk about "democratic attacks" and "confrontation". But in the investiture agreement the three parties agree to give the negotiations with the state a two-year margin, and Aragonès will cling as much as he can to the first half of the legislature. After that, we will see. Aragonès presented himself as a president who will seek to resolve the conflict and will do so with a different recipe to 2017. "The Generalitat will go to the negotiating table to resolve the political conflict with the State once and for all," he has proclaimed. It will not be easy, since on the other side will be the PSOE, which accepts dialogue, but does not want to hear about self-determination or amnesty. In fact, the leader of the PSC in Parliament, Salvador Illa, has already made it clear that all this is "divisive" and that he will not have their support.

The Republican pronounced four times the word "shake" and six times "new stage": "My obsession is to overcome the current deadlock and resolve once and for all the conflict." The future president will be able to count, at least in the coming months, with the support of its government partner, JxCat. The parliamentary leader of this formation, Albert Batet, has assured that they are giving a "new sincere opportunity" to the table, although their "scepticism" will always be latent. "We will be loyal to the negotiating table, but we also need confrontation," he concluded. The CUP will not speak until Friday.

Appeal to En Comú

Despite the fact that the votes of JxCat and the CUP will be the decisive ones for him to land in the Palau de la Generalitat, Aragonès has used his speech to try to seduce another party that, unless there are surprises, will not back his candidacy: En Comú Podem. The Republican has offered them his "outstretched hand" to collaborate in the next legislature and has asked, at least, for their abstention in the vote on Friday. "Beyond the complicity with Junts and the CUP, I ask for the support of those with whom we share the same idea of progress and a common commitment to prisoners and exiles," he proclaimed.

In his third investiture speech - in the first two, on 26 and 30 March, he did not get sufficient support - he has made a balance between two concepts: on the one hand, he has assured that his Government will head towards independence, but on the other hand, he has committed to govern for "all Catalans", whether or not they believe in the republican project that he defends, and with social justice as a top priority. This governing "for all" is what has brought him to ensure that in the coming years he not only wants to weave pacts with pro-independence supporters, but also with those who are not, and with En Comú above all. "Sooner rather than later we will have to understand each other. We share the same idea of an ambitious and transformative country," he said. The leader of En comú Podem, Jéssica Albiach, has already replied that she has not taken it as a "real" offer.

ERC presidential candidate Pere Aragonès, this Thursday before the plenary session.

The future president of the Generalitat has offered a government programme based on four axes: the social, the ecological, the feminist and the democratic, which he considers can be endorsed by a wide spectrum of the Catalan parliamentary arc. At one point in his speech, Aragonès has even raised even broader agreements, where the PSC could fit perfectly. Thus, he assured that his government will try to convey the projects through the figure of the National Pact, where the parties and social agents work together to promote transformative laws.

A new opportunity

The plenary session has also allowed ERC and JxCat to show that they are giving each other another chance to govern, after five rather stormy years of marriage. Aragonès, although he admitted that the investiture agreement should have been reached much earlier - the negotiation has lasted three months -, has assured that it is "solid, honest and sincere". Batet has not been so forceful, but also wanted to be optimistic: "The agreement does not raise expectations and precisely this may be its virtue". But the start of this Govern already shows symptoms that it will not be easy. The first sign is that the leader of Junts Elsa Artadi has finally rejected becoming the vice-president of the executive. Nonetheless, this Thursday neither ERC nor JxCat have mentioned it. Surely because both know that it will not be an easy term in office and there will be time to talk about thorny issues. Aragonès this Friday will be elected president. The rest is yet to be written.