CUP’s base to decide the next step on pro-independence process
The eyes of Catalan politics will be set this weekend on pro-independence radical left CUP’s General Assembly, which according to CUP members Natàlia Sànchez and Xevi Generó “will probably be CUP’s most decisive assembly yet”. The 4,000 CUP members registered to attend the event won’t only have to decide on whether to instate current Catalan President Artur Mas but also on the social action plan presented by cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, as well as discussing the basis to start building the Catalan Republic. The assembly will mark the end of the negotiation process between pro-independence forces CUP and ‘Junts Pel Sí’, which started right after the 27-S Catalan Elections.
Barcelona (CNA).- Pro-independence radical left CUP, which obtained 10 MPs in the recent 27-S Catalan Elections, will hold this Sunday its General Assembly. “It will probably be CUP’s most decisive assembly yet” admitted radical left members Natàlia Sànchez and Xevi Generó. Indeed, the gathering has aroused remarkable interest, not only amongst the 4,000 CUP members which are going to attend the meeting but also amongst all those whom are waiting to know the next steps on the pro-independence roadmap. CUP’s members will have to decide whether they wish to instate current Catalan President Artur Mas and will also discuss the social action plan presented by cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and the basis to start building the Catalan Republic. If CUP’s base insist on their veto against Artur Mas and ‘Junts Pel Sí’ don’t present any alternative candidacy, as they have repeatedly refused to do, new elections will be held in March.
The 3,557 CUP members whom have the right to vote and whom are considered “CUP’s real muscle”, according to Generó, will have to vote on four different scenarios. Two of them agree to instate Mas as President and the other two head toward new elections in March. All the options will be put to vote and the scenario which obtains the least number of votes will be eliminated until there is only one option left. However, if one of the scenarios at any point gets more than 50% of the votes it will automatically be accepted.
Four possible scenarios
1. Agreement with Mas at the front. This scenario would accept the ‘Junts Pel Sí’ proposal to create three "government commissions" led by left-wing ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, current Catalan vice-president Neus Munté and 'Junts Pel Sí' top member former MEP Raül Romeva. This would keep Mas as the Catalan President but he would be joined by a "Presidency's Board" with delegated competences. The proposal also suggests holding a vote of confidence in 10 months' time to evaluate the evolution of the agreement.
2. Instating Mas but rejecting the agreement. This option would facilitate the formation of a new government and avoid the scenario of new elections. However, by refusing ‘Junts Pel Sí’s social action plan and pro-independence roadmap, the parliamentary stability of the cross-party list would be very weak.
3. No to the agreement, no to President Mas and yes for trying to find an alternative candidate. This scenario would mean opting to keep on negotiating and using up all the deadlines. If ‘Junts Pel Sí’ don’t present any alternative candidate before the third and last investiture debate, scheduled for the 10th of January, then it will be automatically assumed that elections will be called again.
4. No to the agreement, no to President Mas and yes to trying to find other support. Through this option, CUP would try to find other abstentions in the Parliament, which would facilitate Mas’ investiture, such as those of alternative left coalition Catalunya Sí que es Pot. In the event that Mas doesn’t get enough votes in the investiture debate, new elections will be held in March.
Instating a new President the main obstacle
The results of the 27-S Catalan Elections led to a historic majority of pro-independence supporters in the Parliament. However, the winning force, cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ didn’t obtain an absolute majority and therefore their 62 MPs need the support of radical left CUP’s 10 MPs to reach agreements and start constituting a new government. The first step to achieving this has been their main obstacle: deciding who will be the next Catalan President.
Right after the elections, ‘Junts Pel Sí’ insisted that their one and only candidate for President has always been Artur Mas and lamented CUP’s position of continuing to refuse to instate him, “what matters now is to know if these 72 MPs could set up a roadmap together” stated Mas, referring to the sum of the 62 ‘Junts Pel Sí’ MPs and the 10 representatives obtained by CUP. “Everybody knows that this is the priority now”, he assured. “The responsibility is shared, and when responsibilities are shared they have to be carried out by all those who have them”.
Radical left CUP emphasised already during the electoral campaign that they won’t instate Mas as President. Number two of the party, Anna Gabriel, stated that the Catalan President “has to be a person who can’t be identified with cuts, corruption and privatisations”. CUP members have insisted on the need to “broaden the pro-independence movement’s social support” and try to find “a candidate of consensus amongst ‘Junts Pel Sí’s members”. Nevertheless, the cross-party list insisted that “nobody in ‘Junts Pel Sí’ wanted nor had enough support to run for President”.
‘Junts Pel Sí’s latest proposal regarding the presidency of the new government was to create “a collegiate presidency composed by a President of the government and three government commissions”. The President would continue to be Mas.
3 times ‘no’ to Mas
The first investiture debate of the new and for the first time pro-independence Parliament was held on the 9th of November. 73 MPs from the 135 in the Catalan chamber refused to re-elect current President, Artur Mas. "I'll be back for the second phase of the vote" stated Mas. However, and for the first time in the Parliament’s history, a candidate didn’t obtain a majority to be instated in the second round either. The only MPs who supported Mas' candidacy were the 62 members of the pro-independence cross-party list, 'Junts Pel Sí', which was exactly the same result that the candidate got in the first round of the debate.
CUP’s veto against Artur Mas was reinforced after the party held its National Debate. The radical left party put their strategy to vote amongst their members and 823 of the 1,300 participants rejected Mas' candidacy again. CUP's National Debate came after 'Junts Pel Sí' proposed to create three "government commissions" led by left-wing ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, current Catalan vice-president Neus Munté and 'Junts Pel Sí' top member former MEP Raül Romeva. This would keep Mas as Catalan President but he would be joined by a "Presidency's Board" with delegated competences. CUP refused this proposal and insisted on the need to find another candidate. "If there are elections it will be because 'Junts Pel Sí' won't have made the move that people are asking for" stated CUP's number two, Anna Gabriel.
Insufficient social action plan
Regarding the social measures included in ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal, CUP admitted that it was far from what they expected. Amongst the 20 measures are the fulfilling of the Dependency Law, guaranteeing 100% of children’s food needs, fighting energy poverty and establishing a guaranteed minimum income. Some of these measures are set to be launched within a budgetary extension, but in order to launch “the most urgent” measures the document establishes an amount of 270 million euros. CUP aims to allocate 3 billion euros to these purposes.