JxCat claims not to feel "pressured" by ERC-CUP pre-agreement and urges to continue negotiating

Jordi Sànchez will hold a conference tomorrow to explain the state of negotiations

5 min
Elsa Artadi, number four of JxCat, at a rally in Sabadell

So far negotiations between Esquerra and Junts have been complicated, and they are unlikely to get any easier this week, as the deadline to present a candidate to president nears. From now until Friday current coalition partners of the Government have to close the negotiation so that the investiture of Pere Aragonès goes ahead. "What will happen or what will not happen on Friday? Today is Monday and we continue working with ERC," said spokeswoman Elsa Artadi. The also vice president of the party - who is part of the negotiating team - has stated that they do not feel "pressured" by the pre-agreement that ERC has reached with CUP, whose members will have to vote on the agreement between Wednesday and Thursday. On the contrary, it has reassured them to continue negotiating towards a threeway agreement. Artadi explained that this afternoon and tomorrow morning they will hold working meetings with the other two pro-independence parties.

Artadi has remarked that they do not know the details of the pact between the CUP and Esquerra and, therefore, cannot comment. "We do not know if it is an agreement for the whole term in office, which includes an agreement on budgets in the line of stability that Pere Aragonès had indicated, or whether it is an agreement just to vote him in," she said. "It could be anything", she emphasised, assuring that the her party has not yet decided which way it will vote when Aragonès stands as candidate.

In any case, the fact that the other two pro-independence parties have signed an agreement without them has generated unease among Junts Government ministers. The head of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, has affirmed to SER Catalunya that no JxCat cabinet member knew of the pre-agreement and that news of it first reached them on Sunday through the media. According to Junts sources, ERC only informed JxCat's negotiating team - which the Ministers are not a part of- "a few minutes before" making it public. They also pointed out that Aragonès needs their support to be invested president. "We have more MPs than CUP", they affirm: "They have to close an agreement with us too"

To explain the state of the negotiations, the secretary general of Junts, Jordi Sànchez, plans to hold a conference tomorrow Tuesday at seven in the evening. According to Artadi, he will explain the analysis of the result of the elections and also what balance he makes of the negotiations when there are few days left for Aragonès to undergo the investiture debate

ERC confident there will be an agreement

The assistant secretary general of ERC, Marta Vilalta, is convinced this Monday that her party will reach an agreement with Junts in the line of the pre-agreement reached with CUP to make the investiture of Pere Aragonès possible. At a press conference at the party headquarters, the new spokeswoman for the ERC in Parliament explained that there are still talking to JxCat and believes an agreement that is "consistent" and "compatible" with what ERC discussed with CUP. She has insisted that "they will continue working" to incorporate Junts after acknowledging that the role of the Consell per la República is one of the issues being negotiated - as advanced by ARA last Tuesday - and to be in favor of "reformulating" this body so that it "brings together" all pro-independence formations.

Previously, ERC Laura Vilagrà has also pointed out that the Consell per la República - the space that JxCat wants for this collegiate direction - is not the coordinating body that ERC and the CUP would agree to. In fact, she has even considered Puigdemont's figure as a legitimate president suspicious: "He has been an important president, he is the person who can work internationally, we have to find a role for him, but we hope that from Friday the president will be Pere Aragonès". ERC believes the role of the Consell per la República must be limited to the "internationalisation of the Independence bid" and not to deciding the strategy. Junts thinks just the opposite. A few minutes later, the Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, insisted that the entity led by Puigdemont should have the role of collegiate body of the pro-independence movement.

Despite the discrepancies, Vilagrà, who is a member of the ERC negotiating team with the CUP and Junts, has been optimistic and told RTVE that the agreement "will materialise this week". At the moment, with the CUP the talks are going in a better direction or, at least, there is evidence that they are advancing faster. Vilagrà confirmed this morning the pre-agreement with the CUP, which hinges on three axes: national, social and public order. On the national axis, Vilagrà pointed out that they are working to specify two types of scenarios: the first is to "go as deep as possible at the negotiating table", and the second is to foresee what would happen in a second stage if "the dialogue fails", with the referendum as the backbone of the strategy

Eulàlia Reguant (CUP) has played it down, saying it wasn't so much a closed agreement as a "political framework for the parliamentary term" that now has to be validated by CUP members. "Until this is not clear there is no need to talk about the distribution of Departments," she said in statements to the program Planta baixa. She remarked that with Esquerra they had not spoken of becoming part of the executive.

What she has regretted has been the attitude of Junts, affirming that they have sent them proposals and they have not answered them. She has also discarded to reform the regulation to preserve the rights of the MPs until a firm court ruling against them, as Junts had proposed, to avoid Laura Borràs being suspended through the article 25.4 if an oral trial is opened over the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes case.

As a result of the lack of agreement with Junts, En Comú have taken the opportunity to rub a little salt in: "They can agree a lot on health policies, but if the Minister belongs to JxCat, they will carry out right-wing policies as always", concluded their spokesman, Joan Mena.

PSC sees Aragonès as JxCat and CUP's prisoner

Despite not yet renouncing to present the candidacy of Salvador Illa, the socialists begin to exercise opposition to the next pro-independence executive, reports Jordi Ribalaygue. The deputy first secretary of the PSC, Eva Granados, has charged against ERC for "being willing to reach the presidency at any price" and deliver "the key to the Government to two anti-system parties", referring to the CUP, "who does not even believe in Europe", and JxCat, "that makes confrontation its key". Granados added that ERC is "at CUP's feet and with its hands tied by JxCat".

"It seems that the country will be in the hands of the assemblies of the CUP and, again, of Waterloo," Granados has interviewed, critical that there is "an inbred reaffirmation of a failed Government". "The price will be paid by all Catalans," she lamented, while accusing Pere Aragonès of ignoring that the Parliament is "mostly left-wing" by opting to head an executive that has defined "right-wing, nationalist and insists on confrontation".

The PSC spokeswoman has been categorical in denying that her party could abstain in favor of the number one of ERC if it is confirmed that Illa is left without any option to be chosen president. "Our vote to Aragonès is a definite no", Granados made clear, who has announced that the socialist leader still wants to stand as candidate to president in parliament. The socialist has not explained how the PSC plans to ensure that Illa is voted in. The partner they prioritises, En Comú Podem, has warned that it will not collaborate in a "failed investiture" and has branded as "frivolity" that Illa intends to be a candidate in Friday's session without having guaranteed sufficient support before.