Puigdemont and Borràs meet in Belgium to address the negotiation of a coalition
ERC has opened the round of contacts with the CUP and will meet with Junts in the coming hours
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont met presidential candidate, Laura Borràs, in Belgium this Thursday to analyse the electoral results and the formation of a government with ERC. Junts hopes to translate the pro-independence absolute majority in the Parliament into a "strong" executive and to agree on a shared strategy to continue with the Independence bid. As explained by the party's secretary general, Jordi Sànchez, in an interview with ARA, they look to Pere Aragonès, as the most voted candidate within the independence movement, to lead the formation of the executive, but advocate reaching agreements on what to do in this legislature and also in the Spanish Parliament.
JxCat has explained in a statement that Puigdemont and Borràs have agreed to "emphasise the importance of having exceeded 51% of the votes" by the independence movement and that the result has to favor the formation of a pro-independence executive that applies the "mandate".
Yesterday ERC opened the round of contacts with the CUP to begin to speak of the formation of the new executive and will continue in the next few hours with Junts per Catalunya. One of the leaders who is expected to be on the negotiating team is the vice president, Josep Rius, who is one of Puigdemont's most trusted people in Barcelona. Also Elsa Artadi, current spokesperson, could be added, in coordination with the general secretariat directed by Jordi Sànchez.
JxCat is approaching the negotiation on different levels. At first it believes that a programmatic agreement must be addressed - which also includes the Spanish Parliament - and then the structure of the Government. To avoid the discrepancies between the partners of this legislature, Junts seeks to find common ground with ERC -who are committed to the negotiation table- and the CUP -which proposes a new referendum before 2025-. In the electoral programme, Borràs included the reactivation of the declaration of independence when the "preparations" were finished and it could be defended. Without a shared direction, they believe, the legislature can return to be "gibberish", in Sànchez's words.
If the pact on the government roadmap is achieved, the next stop will be, according to JxCat, the structure of the Government. First up will the role that the CUP will want to play, which will have to decide in the coming weeks whether it wants to be in government at all. Depending on this, the government will be a coalition government between two parties as it has been until now, or it can be extended to three, according to JxCat. Unlike ERC, they refuse to incorporate En Comú in the executive because they stress that they will not agree to a pro-independence programme.
Wait and see
Until now, Junts per Catalunya is happy to wait and see, because they believe that ERC has to take the initiative. They are willing to invest Pere Aragonès and advocate to make the pro-independence absolute majority count, but they also believe that a shared strategy has to be agreed to avoid the discrepancies of their previous term. In this sense, they are suspicious about ERC's insistence on incorporating En Comú and to make the ideological left-wing axis prevail, excluding Junts. Party sources regret that ERC want to place them in this framework by qualifying them as "right-wing", because they defend that the main ideology of Junts is independentism and inside there are also left-wing sensitivities. In any case, internally, the leaders have conspired to keep a low profile and not to comment publicly on what ERC may say. "We will not be made guilty of a lack of agreement," say sources, and remarked that there are only two options and ERC has to decide: "Either an absolute pro-independence majority between ERC, JxCat and the CUP, or a coalition between ERC, En Comú and PSC".