Far-left CUP, the Catalan kingmakers
Two main pro-independence parties in talks with anti-capitalists to get their four votes to swear in Turull
Four far-left MPs are essential for the pro-independence camp to elect a new Catalan president today. The anti-capitalist CUP party has said in the past few weeks that it would abstain in any investiture debate put forward by the main pro-independence parties if the candidate is not Carles Puigdemont, or if the new government does not take steps towards creating an independent Catalan Republic. To get their support today, officials of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) of Puigdemont and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) are meeting with a CUP delegation in Parliament.
In order to convince this minor party, they offered on Thursday afternoon a vote of confidence for the new president within two months.
Given the fact that the current presidential candidate, Jordi Turull, might be jailed on Friday after appearing in court, CUP has called an urgent meeting of its members and will announce whether or not it will support his candidacy at 3pm this Thursday. The investiture debate is due to start two hours later.
"If we achieve a clearly Republican agreement and decide to stop backtracking in the face of repression and the courts, it will be much easier to change our position," said CUP MP Carles Riera. The anti-capitalist regretted the "rush" to call the debate, and warned that his party’s MPs will never vote for a new president if his aim is to "obey" Spain and apply "regionalist policies".
An internal memo sent to CUP members today describes the arguments in favor and against swearing in Jordi Turull. The document states that talks have so far not shown a clear commitment towards the creation of a Catalan Republic, and it describes Turull as a candidate too closely linked to the former Catalan president Artur Mas, who made severe austerity cuts. The anti-capitalists also criticize Turull for not distancing himself from a corruption scandal in his former party, Convergència.
However, the CUP document also points out that swearing in Turull will send a clear message of confrontation with the Spanish government –as he was a minister in the sacked Puigdemont executive and might even be jailed on Friday. Supporting him will also force his JxCat party and ERC to be more committed to a Catalan Republic, as they would be in CUP’s debt. In a concession to CUP, JxCat has offered to submit its presidential candidate to a confidence vote mid-way through the term, allowing them to sack him if they are not satisfied with the new government’s actions.