Laura Borràs will be the next Speaker

Esquerra guarantees their support while CUP's backing in doubt

3 min
The vice-president, Pere Aragonès, and the candidate of JxCat, Laura Borràs.

Laura Borràs will be the new Speaker of the Catalan Parliament. According to various sources consulted by ARA, this is JxCat's proposal, after weeks in which she meditated her political future. As this newspaper explained, she was also considering the option of becoming the vice-president of Pere Aragonès' government, but most of the party's sources were in favour of her opting for the chamber's speakership. Thus, tomorrow in the constitutive session of the Parliament, Borràs will be elected with the votes of ERC, while awaiting the position adopted by the CUP.

This morning, after several meetings, a tacit agreement was reached between the pro-independence parties. The agreement, as confirmed by Esquerra in a statement, is that Junts will have the presidency and a secretariat; Esquerra, a vice-presidency; CUP, a secretariat. The formula would be for Junts and Esquerra to unite their votes to vote for Borràs and then for the two parties to give support to CUP to obtain a secretary on the chamber's bureau. For the moment, the anti-capitalist left is not guaranteeing its support for JxCat for the presidency, and they also want Esquerra say who their candidates are in order to decide what they will do.

Despite the fact that today the pro-independence majority is guaranteed at the Parliamentary Bureau, the CUP have publicly been very critical of Junts per Catalunya for not revealing their candidate. "It is reckless that they have not put a name forward just a few hours before constituting the Parliamentary Bureau," deputy Carles Riera lamented at a press conference in the chamber, accusing them of taking things "to the limit" and having a "partisan strategy". In this sense, he has sowed doubt about the possibility of supporting themdue to Laura Borràs's open case at the Supreme Court for alleged irregular contracting during her time at the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes. "It is to cast a shadow of suspicion over the Speaker of the Parliament," he said. The words of the CUP have not gone unnoticed by Junts, who regretted Riera's tone and asserted their "right" to present whoever they want. They have also stressed that CUP members are not necessary to obtain the presidency of the Parliament.

CUP had asked for the presidency of the Parliament, but in the end they have settled for a secretariat. The anti-capitalist left has asked Esquerra to hand over the vice-presidency, but ERC refused, despite the fact that they were in favour of awarding them the Speakership. According to CUP sources, yesterday the CUP's Coordinadora Oberta Parlamentària agreed to continue fighting for the presidency of the chamber, but also to avoid a clash with JxCat so that it would not look like a battle for nominations. What was not agreed was what to do in the event that Laura Borràs were to be the candidate: indeed, there are conflicting opinions on the matter.

On the other hand, the other unknown that remains to be resolved is whether Esquerra will cede a secretariat to En Comú. In their communiqué, ERC say that they will take on a vice-presidency, but say nothing about the secretariat that would also be theirs according to the correlation of forces in the Parliament. According to sources consulted, they still hold open negotiations with En Comú, to whom they could also give up a place at the Bureau.

Borràs' decision

The candidacy of Carles Puigdemont's party met this afternoon to decide on the name of the candidate. Most sources were already pointing to Laura Borràs, but she herself had the final say. Borràs participated this afternoon in an event in favour of amnesty, but did not make any statements about her intentions.

The decision on Borràs conditions Junts' strategy. There would now be another strong Junts profile in Pere Aragonès' executive. One of the names that is being thrown around, despite Junts' denial, is Elsa Artadi, who could occupy the economic vice-presidency.

Why is Borràs' decision so important? It determines the leadership of the candidate within Junts. In fact, there were misgivings about her taking the step from her entourage: some leaders argued that, normally, party leaders do not hold the Parliamentary Speaker's office and that the move leaves the way open for the leadership of other Junts leaders -current or future ministers- in the executive.