Esquerra president Oriol Junqueras steps down ahead of party congress in November

Former Catalan vice president and jailed leader wants to repeat in position despite election results

Esquerra Republicana president Oriol Junqueras
Esquerra Republicana president Oriol Junqueras / Mariona Puig
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 10, 2024 02:20 PM

June 10, 2024 02:21 PM

Former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras has stepped down as president of the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, at least temporarily.

Junqueras already announced his intentions in May, after the party lost thousands of votes in the Catalan election and the previous year in the local and Spanish elections.

Secretary general Marta Rovira will be the acting president until November 30. On that day, the party will hold a congress to decide the group's future, and Rovira will step down from her position.

Junqueras, who was jailed for his involvement in the 2017 independence referendum and later pardoned by the Spanish government, will now speak and meet grassroots members of the party to recover the trust.

Catalan president Pere Aragonès and Esquerra party president Oriol Junqueras
Catalan president Pere Aragonès and Esquerra party president Oriol Junqueras / Miquel Vera

Catalan pro-independence party Esquerra has been in a leadership crisis following its defeat in the Catalan election on May 12, losing 13 seats and the presidency.

Catalan president Pere Aragonès of Esquerra announced the day after the election that he would step down as a member of parliament and "facilitate the transition" to new leadership for the party.

In the same line, Marta Rovira, secretary general of Esquerra, announced her decision to resign.

But although both Aragonès and Rovira are pushing for new leadership within the party, longtime party member Junqueras is vying for the opposite: to lead the party again

Junqueras, however, denied that he had been pressured by anyone in the party. "I have felt accompanied," he said back in May, celebrating that there are "many and varied" positions that want to help " strengthen" the party.