Politics 12/05/2021

Minimum pact between ERC, JxCat and CUP to try to break the deadlock

The conflict persists, however: ERC maintains it wants to govern alone while JxCat wants a coalition

3 min
Imatge of the negotiators of ERC, JxCat and CUP after the summit at the Parliament

ERC, JxCat and the CUP have met this Wednesday in Parliament to try to break the deadlock in the negotiations to form a government. The meeting has been driven by CUP, setting themselves up as mediators in the divorce between the two coalition partners. The meeting did not produce a solution to the situation, but it did produce a minimum pact with four commitments with which the three parties are working together to break the deadlock. The three-way dialogue is back, but one of the points of conflict persists: ERC maintains that it wants to govern alone and JxCat believes that it must do so in coalition.

The pro-independence parties are committed, first, to provide a response to the economic and social crisis, in addition to building a "wall of defence" for basic fundamental rights, which "have broad support from Catalan society and that do not fit within the framework of the State". The third commitment is to promote a national agreement for self-determination that goes beyond the parties and that "brings together the social majority" that is in favour of the referendum. They state their "unequivocal" commitment to dialogue and also to a "democratic attack", which they do not define, to exercise self-determination and achieve amnesty "during the next legislature".

The communiqué does not make explicit reference to the Consell per la República, which is one of the points of conflict between Esquerra and Junts, but in the fourth point, it does mention an eventual space for strategic coordination of pro-sovereignty parties. The starting idea is to "achieve a space to debate pro-independence strategy beyond the framework of governability". And what does this mean? None of the parties has wanted, for now, to give a public explanation. ERC sources interpret that the agreement is to leave the debate on the strategy for later and thus facilitate the imminent investiture of Pere Aragonès. It is an issue on which JxCat, until now, did not agree. Junts sources believe that the document puts unity "on track" and maintain that the best "option" is to form a coalition government between them and the Republicans.

These four points are only the bases that can allow Esquerra and Junts to return to the negotiating table, frustrated since the weekend by internal disagreements. In any case, there is still no legislature agreement, but it is a first step to try to redirect the relationship, which today is leading Catalonia to electoral repetition.

The meeting in Parliament was attended by the negotiating teams of Esquerra, the CUP and Junts. On behalf of the Republicans were Marta Vilalta, Josep Maria Jové, Sergi Sabrià and Laura Vilagrà; on behalf of Junts, Francesc Dalmases, Josep Rius and Jordi Sànchez from prison; and on behalf of the CUP, Eulàlia Reguant, Carles Riera, Pau Juvillà and Xavier Pellicer. The negotiating teams have left the meeting together to at least give an outward sign of unity. None of them wanted to make statements when leaving the meeting, since the obstacles remain: one of the most important is that ERC continues to maintain that it wants to govern alone and JxCat wants a coalition government, according to sources from both parties

Marta Vilalta and Sergi Sabrià (ERC) with Francesc Dalmases (JxCat).

The CUP mediates

In addition to the minimum pact to resume dialogue, the morning also leaves as a prominent fact that the CUP stands as a mediator in the conflict between the two coalition partners. The situation, therefore, is the opposite of the two previous negotiations for the investiture, in 2016 and 2018, when it was precisely the CUP who was most reluctant to take things forward. This time, however, the CUP has decided to roll its sleeves up in the face of the situation of total deadlock. In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, CUP deputy Carles Riera has defended that the agreement is still possible despite admitting that the scenario of elections is now the "most likely": "If we agree on these points it will be easier to breack the deadlock because they are common sense proposals and which can be taken on by whoever governs," he said. He also called for "responsibility and open-mindedness" from the other two parties, whom he asked to work to overcome "the miseries of the day to day"