Catalan president calls for 'unity' from pro-independence parties in Spanish elections amid surge of far-right

Pere Aragonès does not expect snap election in Catalonia

Catalan president Pere Aragonès gives a televised address on May 30
Catalan president Pere Aragonès gives a televised address on May 30 / Catalan News
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 30, 2023 12:22 PM

May 30, 2023 05:26 PM

The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, called for pro-independence parties to have "unity to defend Catalonia" ahead of the Spanish elections amid the surge of the far-right and the possibility of a deal between the conservative People's Party and Vox to reach the government.

The Spanish vote will take place on July 23, after PM Pedro Sánchez announced a snap general election on Monday after Sunday's local and regional elections.

During a speech on Tuesday from the Catalan government headquarters, Aragonès warned of the seriousness of the political landscape, saying that "we need to defend Catalonia."


Aragonès took for granted that the next Spanish government will be comprised of the People's Party and Vox. "The right and far-right administration that will take over the Spanish government represents an attack against basic standards and Catalonia's consent," he added.

To fight against this potential right-wing executive, the Catalan president offered for pro-independence deals to be made in city councils after Sunday's local elections and called for "strengthening" the Catalan parliament with a pro-independence speaker after the corruption sentence of suspended parliament speaker Laura Borràs.

The president urged pro-independence groups to reach "solid, firm, new" agreements on the "mechanisms of stability in the governance" of Catalonia. "The attacks that are coming must find us stronger, more together, and more prepared," he added.  

Esquerra already rejected calling a snap election in Catalonia on Monday.

Clarity Act proposal shelved

Aragonès also admitted that the dialogue table with the Spanish government is now shelved, as is the Catalan president's proposal of a Quebec-style Clarity Act.

The Catalan government had already assumed that the negotiation table would not meet again in 2023, but the call for elections this summer adds further distance of talks with Spain.

The agenda of the Clarity Act is also halted for the foreseeable future. The committee led by political scientist Marc Sanjaume were due to publish the conclusions of its work in June, when it was then scheduled to be brought to Catalan parties. This idea will now no longer move forward. 

Aragonès explained during the press conference that the political landscape is now "new," and resolving the political issues between Catalonia and Spain with PP and Vox in office in Madrid will now be "impossible".

Junts proposes meeting on Wednesday

The general secretary of pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, Jordi Turull, said his party is ready to meet with the Catalan president tomorrow, "if the correction proposal to move towards independence is sincere."

Shortly after Aragonès' speech, Turull assured that Junts had already asked for the meeting "a long time ago."

Yet, Turull is open to meeting with the president in order to "move towards independence" to establish a common front "to say enough to Spain."

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont also said that independence must be achieved in the face of the changing political landscape in Spain: "For other things, no need to waste our time," he warned in a tweet.

Laura Borràs, Junts president, took a swipe at ERC, lamenting "four years of lost opportunities" and "four years also of weakening Catalan institutions driven by electoral tactics."  


Vox: Aragonès is "afraid"

Vox spokesperson in the Catalan Parliament, Joan Garriga, said that Aragonès' comments demanding a "democratic front" shows that "separatism and the progressive left are afraid of our growth and our policies."

Garriga was pleased with the fact that the Spanish election has been brought forward to July and has targeted offering an alternative to the "Socialist government and the separatists."

Socialist regret Aragonès takes election loss for granted

Sources from the Socialist Party regret that the Catalan president is taking it for granted that the right will emerge victorious in the upcoming Spanish election. Instead, say they want to win the elections to ensure a "progressive government" is kept in Spain. 

The Catalan Socialists also view Aragonès' proposal for a "democratic front" uniting pro-independence groups as incoherent with ERC's refusal to present a unitary candidacy in July as proposed by Junts. 

"What a serious mistake today from Aragonès to consider himself defeated before July 23. ERC continues to have no project for Catalonia. We Socialists have a project and we are going out to win the elections to make a progressive government possible and block the way for the right and the far-right," Catalan Socialist spokesperson Alicia Romero said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, David Cid, spokesperson of En Comú Podem in the Catalan parliament, also regretted that Aragonès "went out to lose" the general elections. "We're going out to win them," Cid said on Twitter. En Comú Podem are the Catalan branch of Podemos, the junior coalition partner in the Spanish government. 

Cid interpreted Aragonès' words as an "escape to the past" and sees the "turn" towards Junts as "aimless."