Politics 25/03/2021

JxCat to abstain in first investiture vote

Some party voices preferred voting against ERC's candidate

3 min
Jordi Sànchez, secretary general of JxCat, and the vice-president, Pere Aragonès

Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) will abstain in the vote this Friday to invest Pere Aragonès as 132nd president of the Generalitat. This has been decided by the party's executive, according to sources consulted by ARA, after noting that there is no agreement with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and that the conditions are insufficient, in their view, to forge a "stable" and "solid" executive. In any case, in line with the public statements made on Tuesday by the party's secretary general, Jordi Sànchez, JxCat hopes to reach an agreement within "days or weeks"

The pressure exerted by both Esquerra and CUP, whose bases have supported the pre-agreement signed this Thursday morning, was not enough to make Junts change its position. According to party sources, there were leaders who were even inclined to oppose it, although finally there have been more voices in favour of abstention. In the party there is discomfort over how Esquerra has led the negotiation, reproaching them that they have prioritised obtaining CUP's 9 votes over Junts' 32. "They will have to continue negotiating with us," says one of the leaders consulted, while the Republicans say that if no progress has been made it is because JxCat has opted for a strategy of delaying negotiations.

JxCat's position may change for the second vote if an agreement is reached. Junts' abstention means Aragonès will be unsuccessful: he will get 42 votes iwhen he needs at least 68. It remains to be seen whether the same will happen on Sunday or Tuesday, when the second vote will be held. If so, the parties will have two months to reach an agreement and vote in a candidate, failing which new elections will be called. Neither ERC nor JxCat seem overly phazed: they have hardly even met over the past 48 hours.

Friction

The main stumbling block on the pro-independence strategy is where it should be decided. JxCat believes that it is in the Consell per la República (CxR) and Esquerra, along with CUP want to create another body to coordinate the Independence bid. In JxCat's opinion, if they agree to explore the negotiating table with the Spanish state, ERC should facilitate the CxR becoming a decision-making body. This Wednesday, in a meeting in the afternoon in Parliament, ERC proposed a reform of the Consell; JxCat is yet to answer. However, the difference continues to lie in the 'tempo': ERC also wants to create a new strategic body which would reorganise the Consell, while Junts wants ERC to join the Consell and change it from within.

This, however, is not the only stumbling block, since around the negotiation on the Independence Bid there are also discrepancies in relation to the structure of government. Although 24 hours before the investiture they have not entered into the background, there are already different preferences when it comes to addressing the executive. Sànchez already made it clear on Tuesday that they want to lead the management of European funds from the Economy Department, in addition to dealing with the pandemic from the Health Department. Esquerra, on the other hand, aspires to lead from the presidency the resources of the EU Next Generation, while it also wants to preserve social departments.

Another problem is the programme agreed between ERC and CUP, which includes measures which JxCat does not approve of. One of the points is "the plan and calendar of recovery of private and faith schools towards state education in an agreed way" or everything that has to do with stopping public-private collaboration. This Thursday at a press conference, CUP MP Eulàlia Reguant asked Junts to join the pact CUP made with Esquerra, while ERC says their agreement with CUP is compatible with a future pact with JxCat.

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