Extraordinary Catalan cabinet meeting amid crisis between allies

Situation escalates after junior partner Junts threatens to ask for motion of confidence 

Catalan president Pere Aragonès, right, and vice president Jordi Puigneró on September 27, 2022 during the general policy debate in parliament
Catalan president Pere Aragonès, right, and vice president Jordi Puigneró on September 27, 2022 during the general policy debate in parliament / Job Vermeulen
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

September 28, 2022 01:37 PM

September 28, 2022 10:07 PM

The Catalan government held an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Wednesday from 5pm amid a deepening crisis between the two coalition allies, senior partner Esquerra Republicana and junior partner Junts per Catalunya.

The meeting ended at around 7.15pm, with president Aragonès entering into another meeting with the secretary general of Junts, Jordi Turull, immediately afterward. The head of government is expected to make an official statement once that meeting concludes. 

The situation has escalated since Junts threatened to ask for a motion of confidence during the annual general policies debate in parliament on Tuesday evening. Only the president, that is to say, Pere Aragonès, can call a motion of confidence. 

During the first meeting with Junts ministers, the president is believed to have asked each Junts member of his cabinet whether or not they knew party spokesperson Albert Batet would bring up the idea of a motion of confidence during the general policy debate on Tuesday night and whether or not they agreed with it. 

The responses are said to have been "irregular," according to sources, with answers varying depending on each minister's personal point of view, rather than there being a unified stance on the issue. 

However, this clashes with a statement released by Junts which made clear that all of its ministers agree with the idea of Pere Aragonès putting himself forward for a motion of confidence in the Catalan parliament.

According to Junts, the party needs further guarantees on the coalition agreement that put Aragonès in power following the February 2021 election will be complied with, namely in regard to outlining a clear path towards independence. 

Fault lines have become even more apparent between both parties in recent months, evidenced, for example, by opposing views on suspending Junts president Laura Borràs as parliament speaker as she faces corruption charges, or by Esquerra's decision not to attend the pro-independence National Day rally this year. 

People within Junts have also suggested the possibility of leaving the coalition, and on Tuesday Junts spokesperson Albert Batet said in parliament that the two parties "cannot continue like this."

In an interview with the Catalan News Agency on Wednesday, however, Borràs asked why "aren't we asking why Esquerra isn't leaving the government if they're not complying with [the coalition] agreement?"


Esquerra, meanwhile, has responded by telling Junts to call a vote of no confidence and to leave the cabinet if they are unhappy. 

Aragonès put his agenda on hold on Wednesday morning following Junts' motion of confidence threat and is reported to have held meetings with his vice president, Junt's Jordi Puigneró, as well as with presidency minister and fellow party mate Laura Vilagrà. 

How motion of confidence and no confidence work

Motions of confidence are put forward by the president, after having been discussed with the government, in an attempt to strengthen their position and make clear they have the support of lawmakers. 

If a majority of MPs back the president, no changes are made in the cabinet since it is understood they have the chamber's confidence. 

Yet, if there are a majority of negative votes, the president is automatically ousted and the parliament has to appoint another MP as head of the government – if they fail to do so within ten days, a snap election would be called.

Meanwhile, a motion of no confidence is put forward by the opposition and a specific MP is proposed to take over. If an absolute majority of lawmakers support it, the proposed candidate becomes president. A fifth of the chamber or two parliamentary groups have to agree so that the motion can be taken into consideration and debated in parliament.