Government calls for 'trust' in negotiating teams to agree deal for new term

Socialists rule out abstention as ERC meet Junts and En Comú Podem for separate talks

Acting government spokesperson Meritxell Budó speaks following a cabinet meeting, May 11, 2021
Acting government spokesperson Meritxell Budó speaks following a cabinet meeting, May 11, 2021 / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 11, 2021 05:48 PM

Almost three months on from the Catalan election of February 14 and with just a 15-day window remaining to choose the next president, the current government spokesperson has called on people to "trust the negotiation teams" to agree on a deal for the new term.

Meritxell Budó insists that the ongoing stalemate between the two main pro-independence parties, Esquerra (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya, was not affecting the government's day-to-day business.

"We have to work discreetly and away from the media noise," she said at a press conference on Tuesday following a meeting of the cabinet.

Budó is a member of Junts per Catalunya but was very clear that her role was to represent the whole government and she therefore would not be drawn on the prospect of a minority ERC executive, saying it was "up to the parties to explain exactly the situation."

"There are only a few days left for a government agreement to be reached but there is still time for it to happen," she said, adding that she had "faith in the negotiating teams."

In the last parliament, Junts were the bigger of the two governing parties, but ERC won one more seat than them in the recent election.

Esquerra meet En Comú Podem

With the makeup of the next government still up in the air, Esquerra have also begun talking to the anti-austerity En Comú Podem, with another meeting planned for Tuesday afternoon following the opening of formal negotiations on Monday.

Esquerra say their current focus is only on gaining enough support in parliament for the investiture of their candidate, Pere Aragonès, as president, and that they would begin the new term governing alone.

Negotiations over whether other parties, for example Junts, Comuns or the far-left CUP would join them in the executive would continue afterwards.

Socialists rule out abstention

The Socialists, who won the most votes in February's election and tied with ERC on 33 seats, have ruled out abstaining in order to facilitate the Aragonès' investiture and therefore avoid fresh elections.

"It won't happen," Salvador Illa told TV1. "How should we facilitate a government when we have won the elections? And, besides, a government that continues to proclaim independence as the goal of its action?"

"I won and it is up to me to lead a left-wing majority," he insisted, although there has been no evidence so far that he could command the required support in parliament to be elected president.