Politics 19/05/2021

The name dance for the future Government is underway

Aragonès bids farewell to acting ministers while waiting to be invested this week

4 min
Image of the last executive council before the investiture of Pere Aragonès

BarcelonaOnce the equation of the investiture of Pere Aragonès is solved, and the future Government distribution too, on both sides of the Esquerra and Junts per Catalunya coalition the dance of names of the future consellers of the Generalitat begins. Fourteen names, plus Aragonès, that are conditioned by the specialty -the specific areas of each department-, the parity -the whole of the executive has to be distributed 50% between women and men- and the representativeness of the territory. This Tuesday, Aragonès presided over the last executive council as vice-president, in which he said goodbye to the ministers in office thanking them for the work done and ignoring the tensions that have existed throughout the mandate both due to the Procés (the Catalan independence bid that started in 2017) and because of the management of the pandemic.

Therefore, the ministers have left the executive council with the doubt of whether they will re-enter as members of the new Government. Today, names are not set in stone, but it is clear that there will be members who will continue, others who will leave - and that there will be new faces.

One of the most important figures in the Government after the president will be the person who occupies the vice-presidency of Economy and Finance. They will not only have the usual weight to elaborate the budgets, but will also manage the European funds and will have a key role in the exit of the crisis provoked by the covid-19. Everything points that this position, which in practice will hold the Junts part of the Govern leadership, will be for Elsa Artadi, although her environment says that she has not yet decided and that she has doubts - she is now the visible face of Carles Puigdemont in Barcelona. Beyond this name and that of Josep Maria Argimon at the head of the Health Department - which Laura Borràs announced in campaign and the secretary general of Junts, Jordi Sànchez, confirmed on Tuesday in RAC1 - there are more unknowns than certainties within JxCat. "The weight of the decision will be carried by Jordi Sànchez" along with Puigdemont, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, assume most sources.

The vice president of JxCat Josep Rius and Elsa Artadi.

In addition to Economy and Health, Junts assumes another portfolio, Foreign Affairs, which most likely will be occupied by Josep Rius. Miquel Sàmper, now in Home Affairs, is one of the profiles that can take on the Department of Justice; and Jordi Puigneró might take on the Ministry of Digital Policies and Territory, despite the fact that this place is in dispute with Minister Damià Calvet. One of the problems of Junts is that most of the aspirants to repeat in the Government are men. Ramon Tremosa, to whom most recognise his successes at the head of Business, runs up against this, as well as Albert Batet, who, although he was on the table to jump from Parliament to the executive council, with the agreed structure and parity, has few options.

As for female leadership, Gemma Geis, current deputy spokesperson in Parliament, is one of the profiles with strength. After having been vice-rector of the University of Girona, Geis has the credentials to take over the Universities and Research portfolio - in spite of the fact that there are those who promote Tremosa for this place -, whereas Meritxell Budó, who from the beginning had few possibilities to continue, could end up staying in the executive. The mayoress of Vic, Anna Erra, or the secretary of Finances, Teresa Pallarès, are also two profiles with possibilities. On the other hand, Àngels Ponsa has less chances, since Junts has lost the Culture portfolio.

The councillors Miquel Sàmper and the spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó, at the entrance of the Executive Council

In any case, official sources of Junts assure that there is nothing set in stone and that nothing has been discussed in the executive of the party yet. Informally, however, there are rumours and hypotheses circulating: this was the case this Tuesday at the lunch of Junts ministers, in which the future of some members of the Government has been commented on without knowing for sure who will continue. This Tuesday on RAC1 Jordi Sànchez has assured that he has made a commitment to Aragonès to officially inform him of the names before communicating them to the Junts leadership and making them public as future president of the executive council. 

Regarding ERC, who for now has a confirmed position in the executive council, apart from Aragonès, only the names of Laura Vilagrà and Roger Torrent are being considered. The first, in the Ministry of Presidency, and the second has yet to be determined, although he could take on the Business and Labour portfolio. The key to untangle all the names can be found in the most difficult portfolio of all: the Ministry of Home Affairs, which for the first time will be managed by Republicans. It was taken for granted that the chosen person would be the current Justice Minister, Ester Capella, but there could be a plot twist. According to what Efe has advanced, and what the ARA has confirmed, one of the names that has been put on the table is that of the lawyer and former mayor of Vilanova i la Geltrú, Joan Ignasi Elena. He is the former leader of the PSC and has been close to Esquerra for some years -although not affiliated-, would mean handing one of the most politically draining departments to an independent candidate.

The ministers of Esquerra Ester Capilla, Teresa Jordà and Josep Bargalló at the entrance of the executive council

Another unknown is what will happen to the ministers who lead portfolios that will be handed to JxCat. It is taken for granted that Chakir El Homrani will not continue in the executive council, but it is not ruled out that the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernat Solé, and the Minister of Health, Alba Vergés, will continue. The first is pending his final disqualification by the Supreme Court -for having collaborated with the 1-O referendum when he was a mayor-, but could temporarily fit in the Education portfolio, where the name of Josep Gonzalez Cambray is also heard. The second is a candidate for the newly created department of Feminisms, although it is one of the most coveted pieces of the next executive. Finally, the current Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Jordà, would have to remain in office, now with the competences of Climate Action incorporated. Whatever the final outcome, yesterday ERC held a national council to validate the agreement with Junts in which all the current ministers were thanked for their services. Not all of them will be able to continue.