The post-election scenario
Politics 28/02/2021

All the negotiation portfolios of the future Catalan Government

Parliamentary presidency is the first litmus test of the talks

4 min
The pitfalls of negotiation

BarcelonaThe theory goes that negotiation is a method of conflict resolution in which all parties give in on something in order to reach an agreement. And in the talks to form the new government of Catalonia there are a number of folders that will require the restraint of ERC, JxCat and the CUP to avoid a repeat election: from the direction that the Catalan independence bid has to take to the distribution of the positions of the Government, through the relationship with other forces - such as the comuns and the PSC - and the composition of the Parliamentary Bureau. The countdown has already begun and the first deadline for negotiation is March 12, with the constitution of the chamber.

The Parliamentary Bureau

The first negotiation solver

Of the seven members that the governing body of the chamber has, if sovereignism plays its cards right it, could take five. However, the core of the conflict is who gets the presidency. The CUP has taken the step of asking for it but JxCat also aspires to it because it is already a tradition that the maximum representative of the chamber is for the second pro-independence force. ERC holds its breath trusting that it will finally end up in the hands of the anti-capitalists, but at the same time claims the CUP to give in return a sustained stability during the legislature. However, if ERC chooses to ally with the CUP for the presidency of the Parliament, sources in Junts admit that support for the investiture would be complicated. If the negotiation of the table is peaceful, it will be easier for the rest to go smoothly.

The role of Borràs

She is considering being in the Government or becoming the president of the Parliament

From Junts they affirm that the role of Borràs is not closed and that there are up to three options open: to be in the Government, to occupy the presidency of the Parliament, or to be president of the parliamentary group. The decision is important for the course of her leadership in JxCat, conditioned by the sword of Damocles that represents her pending cause in the Supreme Court.

Depending on Borràs the rest of the pieces of Junts will be ordered. If she is placed in the administration, the vice presidency would have to be separated from the economic sphere to associate it with another area, or recover the conselleria en cap ("head Ministry"). In this scenario, Junts would need a figure for the presidency of the Parliament, a position for which several names appear: Gemma Geis, Albert Batet, Meritxell Budó or Josep Costa. The situation would be different if Borràs opted for the chamber, because another leader would occupy the leadership of JxCat in the Govern.

Shared strategy

The referendum may again be the common denominator

In order not to repeat the disagreements, the parties assure that they have begun the negotiation talking about strategy. The referendum appears again as a key idea, although with many nuances. ERC proposes to ask the Spanish government for it through the dialogue table; JxCat had it in the manifesto (along with the unilateral independence declaration) to ask the EU to pressure to force it, and the CUP advocates for a new (unilateral) referendum in 2025. Of these roadmaps, an attempt will be made to agree on one, in addition to the margin given to interlocution with the Spanish government. The left-wing agenda that both ERC and the CUP want to promote will also be key.

Home Affairs and the Catalan police

The Ministry that everyone wants to avoid is already getting ready for ERC

"It is probable, it is probable". This is what most republican voices answer when asked if ERC will take over the Ministry of Home Affairs, surely the one that generates more wear. Esquerra has assumed that it is one of the prices to pay in exchange for leading the Generalitat. However, they are positive about it, because it gives them leeway to guarantee the CUP that there will be changes in the department and thus get their votes for the investiture. At the moment, Republicans and anti-capitalists have pledged to create a "shock plan" to change the security model. The idea is to take the debate to the Parliament and that it is the camera that makes a commission to the Government on what to change. That was how in 2013 it was approved to ban rubber bullets.

Ministry exchanges

If the CUP does not enter, a 50-50 government is outlined again

Despite not having debated the issue in depth, if the CUP does not enter the Government, a 50-50 coalition might emerge. For JxCat, the scheme of this legislature could be maintained, but in reverse. This means that it could take on the Ministries of Health, with Josep Maria Argimon, Economy and Foreign Affairs. In campaign they also proposed to merge Economy with Labour, the latter now in the hands of ERC. At the same time, the republicans have already said that they also aspire to new Ministries such as Climate Transition (which may affect the Ministry of Territory) and Feminisms.

The role of the comuns

ERC and JxCat have different ideas

ERC wants the comuns to play a participatory role over the next four years, either by joining the Government or by participating in governance. It would be the way to visualize what the republicans call a legislature of a "broad path", that is to say, that the governability of the country is extended to other sovereignist and left-wing actors. But the move is complicated because the comuns and JxCat veto each other. Esquerra maintains close contacts with those of Jéssica Albiach.


The difficult operation of linking them to the investiture

One of the important announcements that Pere Aragonès made in the campaign was that he wanted to link the investiture to the budgets. That is, to negotiate two pacts for the price of one and guarantee the accounts for a year. The Republicans say they will insist on this option but admit that it is becoming increasingly complicated. It will be complicated enough to convince the CUP or the comuns to give their votes for the investiture to add, in addition, an agreement for the accounts. The next Minister of Economy, therefore, will have homework.