Vice-president challenges opposition to call confidence vote as election rhetoric heats up
Pere Aragonès claims pro-independence parties are only viable government
Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès has challenged opposition parties to table a confidence motion against his own government amid intensifying criticism of President Quim Torra ahead of this month's Spanish general election.
One of the most senior non-imprisoned members of Esquerra Republicana (ERC) – in a pro-independence coalition with Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) – Aragonès rejected criticism that the executive was paralyzed and insisted that it would comfortably survive a confidence vote.
"Why don't they put forward a different candidate who could pass a motion of no confidence in the president? If they can't, they have to shoulder their responsibilities and cooperate with the government," he said on Tuesday.
Aragonès acknowledged that there was a majority in the Catalan parliament opposed to the government – following the suspension of the pro-independence MPs currently in exile or on trial for their role in October 2017 referendum – but he said that this was only "because you can add together both extremes" and there would be no majority in favor of an alternative.
The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), however, defended its decision to table a motion condemning the "ineffectiveness" of the government, which failed to pass its budget, claiming that it reflects a shared view among the opposition.
Ferran Pedret, the party's deputy spokesperson, said that all parliamentary groups except for the two leading pro-independence parties believe that the government has "reached its limits" and called for fresh Catalan elections.
But ERC countered that unlike Spain's Socialist government, "which calls elections whenever it can't pass its budget, the Catalan government has decided to carry on with its work and fulfilling its election promises."
Ciutadans (Cs), the main opposition party in Catalonia, cast doubt on the success of any such motion by criticizing the Socialist Party for waiting until now to call for Catalan elections after nine months in power across Spain.