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Government talks between ERC and ECP ‘broken’ as latter wants JxCat out of cabinet

Poll suggests more support for left-wing coalition in Catalonia over pro-independence alliance

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13 May 2021 12:00 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The government talks between pro-independence ERC and left-wing En Comú Podem (ECP) collapsed on Thursday as the latter wants Junts per Catalunya to stay out of the cabinet.

As the most voted pro-independence party in the February 14 election, ERC favoured a government deal with its allies JxCat and far-left CUP. But after weeks of difficulties, it was made public that ERC was also negotiating with ECP to seek their parliamentary support.

Two months after winning a majority of seats in the Catalan parliament, the political deadlock remains and the prospect of a snap election seems more likely every day.

An emergency meeting was held on Wednesday between ERC, JxCat, and CUP, with the three parties committing to avoid a snap election and overcome political discrepancies to start the new term —but subsequent remarks from negotiators made it obvious that the deal was still up in the air.

"We must consider all options over the coming days to avoid a new election, which is the last thing this country deserves," interim president Pere Aragonès, of ERC, said. 

Meanwhile, the Socialist party, which tied at 33 seats with ERC but gained more votes, has ruled out facilitating in any way a government led by the pro-independence party and their presidential candidate, Pere Aragonès.

"Why should I help appoint as president someone that I defeated in an election?" said the Socialist leader Salvador Illa in a radio interview on Thursday. 

With neither ERC nor the Socialists considering the possibility of helping the other form a government, the prospect of ERC reaching a deal with fellow pro-independence parties remains the most likely option to end the political deadlock in Catalonia.

Poll says left-wing government is preferred

Elsewhere, the Spanish government-funded CIS poll says 31.2% of people in Catalonia would prefer a left-wing government comprising of the Socialists, ERC, and Cat-ECP, while 23.2% would prefer a pro-independence coalition between ERC, JxCat, and CUP. Only 5.7% support a minority government of ERC.

The poll says 23.2% would prefer a pro-independence coalition between ERC, JxCat, and CUP, and only 5.7% would support a minority government of ERC, which would still require other parties to back their candidate’s presidential bid in parliament.

Despite the poll’s findings, support for pro-independence parties rose to 52% in the last election, surpassing the 50% threshold for the first time, although with the lowest turnout in modern times

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