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Talks to form new government in Catalonia stalled

Pro-independence parties don’t agree on what role should Puigdemont play in the new cabinet

 

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23 February 2018 02:31 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The negotiations to form a new government in Catalonia are stalled. In a major blow to the Spanish government, pro-independence parties held on to a narrow majority in parliament in a crucial election last December, thus granting them enough votes to retake the executive and put an end to Madrid’s takeover of Catalonia. But, in order to do so, they need to surpass one last obstacle: agreeing on what role will Carles Puigdemont play in the next cabinet.

Puigdemont’s candidacy, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), was the first pro-independence party in the last election. He, however, is currently in Brussels, making it very difficult for him to take office. The debate to pick a Catalan president was expected to be held on January 30, with Puigdemont as the presidential candidate. Yet Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled on January 27 that Puigdemont could not be elected from Brussels. The Catalan parliament speaker subsequently postponed the investiture debate.

After weeks of negotiations between pro-independence parties, the talks have ground to a standstill – for now. The reason? Pro-independence parties don’t agree on what role should Puigdemont play in the new Catalan cabinet. According to sources involved in the negotiations, they have not reached an agreement on the distribution of posts in the next government. With the agreement between parties for a Catalan state almost reached, but Puigdemont’s role has become an obstacle to reach a full accord. 

Negotiations temporally on hold

The two major pro-independence parties, JxCat and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) insisted that they would ultimately be able to reach an agreement to form a new government. Still, negotiations were put temporally on hold on Thursday. According to sources from JxCat, Puigdemont’s candidacy wants their leader to occupy a relevant political role in the next executive, holding the same powers he had before being deposed by the Spanish government.

If Puigdemont cannot be appointed as president in Parliament, it is almost taken for granted that JxCat would then choose Jordi Sànchez as the party candidate for the presidency. Yet he is currently behind bars in Madrid. Meanwhile, the Catalan vice president would be appointed from the Esquerra Republicana party.

Junts per Catalunya files proposal to reinstate deposed government

With the aim of reinstating the deposed Catalan government, Junts per Catalunya filed a proposal in Parliament demanding the reinstatement of Puigdemont’s government and Catalan institutions. It also refuses Spain’s repression and the suspension of Catalan self-rule.

The proposal was filed by JxCat alone, without the support of ERC. As with the proposal to amend the Presidency Law in order to allow Puigdemont to be reinstated, in this case, ERC also failed to support this move from their allies in the push for independence. 

Parliament to hold a debate on investiture’s deadlock next week

The Catalan parliament is to hold a plenary session next week to debate the investiture’s deadlock, as agreed upon by the Parliament bureau agreed on Friday. Now, the Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, is expected to specify the date, according to parliamentary sources.

In the plenary session, the proposals to pick a president filed by different political parties will be discussed and voted upon. Ciutadans, Catalunya en Comú, and the Catalan socialists had already filed a proposal to swear in a Catalan president. Junts per Catalunya filed it today, and the Catalan People’s Party stated that they will follow suit today.   

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  • MPs during the opening session of the Catalan Parliament (by Elisenda Rosanas)

  • MPs during the opening session of the Catalan Parliament (by Elisenda Rosanas)