The CiU has not ruled out a coalition yet despite ERC comments
The Catalan Government spokesman, Francesc Homs, hopes ERC opposition to forming a coalition is not a definitive stance and that negotiations may yet be successful. The ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, said on Wednesday that he plans to stay in opposition while offering parliamentary support to the CiU on key issues such as the budget and the independence referendum. His deputy, Marta Rovira, repeated his comments on Thursday. Meanwhile, Junqueras met with the leader of the ICV-EUiA, Joan Herrera, who advised him it will be very difficult to “change the economical policies” of the CiU and urged him to participate in a “left-wing alternative”. The leader of the Socialists, Pere Navarro, cancelled a meeting with the CiU’s Artur Mas due to “diary issues”.
Barcelona (ACN).- A coalition government in Catalonia is still possible because negotiations have yet to go \u201Cinto detail\u201D. Or at least, that is what the centre-right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) thinks, according to one of its leading figures, current Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs. The left-wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) repeated on Thursday that it has no plans to get into government, but Homs urged his leader, Oriol Junqueras, to rethink its position. Homs said they needed to \u201Ccalmly discuss\u201D all the issues and suggested his party was happy to \u201Cease\u201D some of its economical policies. \u201CWe don\u2019t have much space for maneuvering, but there are always things that could be done differently\u201D, he argued.
Negotiations are under way in Catalonia in order to form all the alliances needed to guarantee the stability of the next government, either in a coalition or through parliamentary pacts. The celebration of a referendum on independence - a promise that four parties, including the two most powerful in Parliament, had in their political manifesto - and the management of the finances of the Government are the two main issues at stake.
One of the most-discussed political options is a coalition between the centre-right CiU and the left-wing ERC, but the latter has already said that it would prefer to stay in opposition while offering stable parliamentary support to the CiU on key issues.
But for the CiU\u2019s Francesc Homs this is not yet a definitive stance. The politician urged the ERC to leave party politics \u201Caside\u201D and get into government \u201Cas they did in the past\u201D. Under a different leadership, the ERC formed a coalition with the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Greens (ICV-EUiA) on two occasions. \u201CAnd this was not during a time as economically serious as the one we are facing now, not to mention the possibility of organizing a referendum and initiating a process that we\u2019ve never considered before\u201D, he added.
Homs said his party, the CiU, is happy \u201Cto discuss absolutely everything\u201D with the ERC. Both parties agree on the independence issue, but have very different economic policies, as the ERC is radically opposed to the severe austerity measures that the CiU has been implementing in the last two years. Homs said they needed to talk because they are happy to \u201Cease and be convinced\u201D on some issues. However, he stressed \u201Cthe numbers are what they are\u201D and there is \u201Cnot much leeway\u201D to change things.
The ERC repeats its answer: no coalition
The ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, said on Wednesday that he plans to stay in opposition while offering parliamentary support to the CiU on key issues such as the budget and the independence referendum. His deputy, Marta Rovira, repeated his comments on Thursday. \u201CThe ERC offer is for the President and the Leader of the opposition to work together to organize a referendum and guarantee day-to-day stability\u201D, said Rovira.
The deputy leader of the ERC said they are \u201Cabsolutely sure\u201D that this option is the \u201Cbest to guarantee a strong government able to hold a referendum\u201D. She argued that political stability in Catalonia would be more protected if the ERC is leading the opposition, because otherwise the role would be in the hands of the PSC and the People\u2019s Party (PP), both \u201Cagainst\u201D the introduction of an independence referendum. She suggested 2013 as a date for the consultation.
The ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, continued his round of meetings with the rest of political parties on Thursday, discussing the political scenario with the leader of the ICV-EUiA, Joan Herrera. Both politicians are in favour of a referendum on independence and against the austerity cuts imposed by Madrid and that the CiU government has been implementing over the last two years.
Herrera told Junqueras that \u201Cby himself\u201D he won\u2019t be able to change the economic policies of Artur Mas\u2019 CiU. \u201CAlone, the ERC cannot reorient the economic policies of the CiU, it can only influence them a little bit\u201D, he said. According to the leader of the ICV-EUiA, his mandate is not to \u201Cchange the CiU\u201D but to form a \u201Cleft-wing alternative\u201D to the centre-right party. In fact, he urged Junqueras to participate in a summit \u201Cagainst the obsessive austerity\u201D that according to him is the CiU is applying. Junqueras did not rule out the possibility, although he plans to influence the political economy of the government through negotiation and agreements rather than by direct confrontation.
Meanwhile, the leader of the CiU Artur Mas and the Socialist Pere Navarro did not meet on Thursday, as it was initially planned. Navarro cancelled the meeting due to \u201Cdiary issues\u201D, although he seemed publicly annoyed about the fact that the appointment was leaked to the press.
The PSC could also be an alternative ally for the CiU to form a stable government. The party has already ruled out the possibility, which seems even more unlikely than the agreement with the ERC. The PSC, which for decades was the main opposition party in Catalonia, is at odds with the CiU on economic policy and a referendum is not one of its immediate priorities.
The leader of the PSC, Pere Navarro, asked the ERC to \u201Cmake up its mind\u201D about whether or not it plans to be in government. He said he is meeting with some other parties to form a strong opposition to the cuts and repeated his \u201Cnumber one priority is to get out of the crisis\u201D, therefore he is prepared to forget about a referendum if necessary.
For the leader of the conservative PP, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, the current situation in Catalonia is \u201Cvery difficult\u201D. For her, it is highly unlikely that the ERC will support the new Catalan budget, expected to include up to 4,000 million euros in spending cuts. She said the best news for Catalonia would be for the CiU to leave its independence plans behind, although she reminded the party she won\u2019t support the party anyway because, she says, she does not trust Artur Mas anymore.