JxCat believes agreement with ERC is imminent
The Republicans sense that there is a "part" of Junts that wants to go to elections and warns that it will seek the support of the 'comuns'
BarcelonaJunts per Catalunya believes that an agreement with Esquerra is on the verge of being reached in the "next few days", although they admit that some of the key aspects of the negotiations have not yet been finalised: there is still no agreement on the strategic unity in Madrid, nor on where to locate the strategic leadership of the Catalan independence bid, nor on the structure of the Government. "The talks are progressing satisfactorily, we have a very advanced framework, I think that in the next few days there may be an agreement", said the party's secretary general, Jordi Sànchez, at a press conference at the party's headquarters. The former leader of the ANC, who has left Lledoners on prison leave, was optimistic about reaching an agreement - he said that there are no "insurmountable" issues - and said that it is "more urgent than ever" for ERC and JxCat to work on the basis of "unity".
Esquerra's version, however, has been very different. The deputy and negotiator of ERC Marta Vilalta has warned on Thursday that the JxCat message is not unanimous: "We sense that a part of JxCat wants elections", dhe said in statements to Radio 4 and La 2. Without naming names, she referred to this sector as "noisy people". However, she warned that heading towards new elections would be "a great irresponsibility". A few minutes later, the Business Minister, Ramon Tremosa, has responded from TV3 that the militancy of Junts does not want to repeat elections and has been in favour of a "good agreement". On the deadline of 20 May set by the Republicans, he said that it seems "reasonable". Jordi Sànchez, in turn, recalled that one thing is the opinions that party leaders can express individually and, another, what the party executive decides, which is what counts, he said. "We will not speculate on new elections", he asserted, adding that he does not foresee Junts' militancy "proposing a scenario that is very different from what people in the executive say".
In addition to the identification of a part of Junts that does not want to reach a pact with ERC, the Republicans consider that talks with Carles Puigdemont's party have "cooled down" since the "turning point" that Marta Vilalta pointed out last week -which JxCat denied-. For this reason, ERC has wanted to condition the negotiation, once again, to an ultimatum - 20 May - and also warned Junts this Thursday that, if there is no agreement in the coming days, the Republicans will seek the support of the Comuns in the investiture. This would be one of the "other possibilities" that ERC is considering if the pact with Junts does not work. They also include the CUP, which has already stated that it does not see it in a bad light. Even so, the support of the Comuns and the CUP would not be enough, given that not even with JxCat's abstention would they obtain a sufficient majority. For the moment, Vilalta has affirmed that "there are talks with the Comuns", despite the fact that his position has always been linked to an equation with the PSC, which ERC rules out. Thus, with 19 days to go until the elections are automatically called, it is unknown what the outcome will be. Vilalta herself has admitted: "Now we don't know where we are going".
She did clarify, however, that according to ERC, the ball is now in Junts' court: "We are waiting, we have to wait to see what decisions they make". The wait, however, cannot be very long. This Thursday, the Republican said that they are "in the time of discount" and warned that, if "in the remainder of this week and early next week" the agreement is not "spun", they will have to consider these alternatives.
If the negotiation finally reaches a successful conclusion, the penultimate step (the last will be the CUP's endorsement) will still be missing: the Junts militancy will decide whether to give its approval to the pact. According to Vilalta, this has "surprised" the Republicans, especially because the announcement of the decision has come "in the final stretch of negotiations": "Any further step is an added risk". However, Junts rebut that Aragonès was warned of the decision at Saturday's meeting in Lledoners. On the other hand, ERC says they knew nothing.
The obstacle of the Consell per la República becomes clogged up
As ARA explained, this Thursday ERC submitted its latest proposal on how the Consell per la República should operate. The obstacle of the role to be played by the Waterloo-based body began as the first stumbling block in the negotiations, and it still remains. Such is the blockage that ERC wants to disassociate it from the negotiations, a fact that Vilalta has insisted on. Junts, however, does not agree to leave it out of the pact. Nevertheless, Vilalta insisted on Thursday that they do not see the CxR (Consell per la República) as the general staff, that it should be a "more neutral" space and that "in any case it should be coordinated with the Consell, a useful tool for internationalising the independence bid". However, the Republican MP pointed out that there are "differences and nuances" in the path that must be followed towards independence, but she argued that this should not prevent an investiture agreement.