No deal reached between coalition partners as negotiation deadline passes

Junts to decide wording of question to members over whether to stay in government

Junts party secretary general Jordi Turull and party president Laura Borràs talking to the press on September 29, 2022
Junts party secretary general Jordi Turull and party president Laura Borràs talking to the press on September 29, 2022 / Cristina Tomàs White, Gerard Escaich Folch & Guifré Jordan
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 3, 2022 10:41 AM

October 3, 2022 11:34 AM

The Catalan government could collapse this week after the junior coalition partner, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), and senior member, Esquerra Republicana, could not reach a deal over the weekend. The executive of Junts is now meeting on Monday morning to decide the wording of the question they will pose to their party members over whether or not they should remain in the administration or leave.

On October 6 and 7, Junts will ask its members in an internal vote whether to continue in the government, as party leaders announced on September 29 after an eight-hour-long meeting in the party's headquarters. 

Junts had given the Catalan president and member of Esquerra Republicana, Pere Aragonès, until Sunday to approve their demands. However, no deal was reached before the 72 hours deadline set. 

One of Junts' requirements to remain in government was for Aragonès to reinstate Jordi Puigneró as vice president, who was fired last week by Aragonès, but on Monday morning, Puigneró and party president Laura Borràs revealed that in the last version of the proposal sent, the former VP's reinstatement had been removed as a demand.

"Having myself reinstated as vice president was not part of the requirements on the proposal sent on Sunday night by Junts to Esquerra," Puigneró said during an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1. 

The president took the decision to remove the executive's number two from his post citing a loss of confidence in Puigneró after Junts suggested a motion of confidence in the head of government on Tuesday night during the general policy debate.

Puigneró: Esquerra 'do not want us' in government

Junts cabinet members feet that "Esquerra Republicana do not want us to be part of the government," as Puigneró told RAC1 on Monday morning. 

Since July, the junior coalition partner has had a new executive board and current secretary general, Jordi Turull, announced then that the party "cannot continue like this." 

Junts' biggest points of contention with Esquerra is that they say the investiture agreement between both parties is not being complied with and followed, something that ERC rejects.

"Esquerra is currently at an impasse as they had signed two investiture agreements, one with the Socialist party in Madrid to back the Spanish PM's presidential bid, and one in Catalonia with pro-independence parties Junts and CUP, that are contradictory with one another," Puigneró said.

Junts claim that "for a long time" Esquerra did not want the junior partner in the executive, but "we have been giving several chances and we have had weekly meetings in which in some of ERC's negotiators said: 'no, no, no' every time we asked for the three main topics of the investiture agreement," as the former vice president explained to RAC1 on Monday.

The three main topics of the investiture agreement Junts want to see followed are a joint strategy towards independence, focusing the negotiation table with the Spanish government on amnesty and self-determination, and coordinating what is voted in the congress in Madrid to the interests of the Catalan executive. 

A fourth topic required is for the Council for the Republic (Consell per la República), Puigdemont's private organization, to lead the independence strategy, which Aragonès rejected as the council cannot have more power than the Catalan government.

Aragonès: new proposal does not solve anything

The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, believes that the latest proposal by Junts does not solve anything and the issue remains alive. 

In fact, the arrival of the new deal was made via WhatsApp, as opposed to Friday's formal document, sources of the Catalan presidency minister said to the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

The new proposal however generates more doubts than solutions as Esquerra do not view the Council for the Republic as universal and say that the group needs to be reformed.

Foreign minister joins Junts

During the weekend, foreign minister Victòria Alsina, a member of the cabinet proposed by Junts, officially joined the political party. 

She is now part of the executive board and defends that Junts should remain in the government "to ensure the path for this cabinet towards independence and to represent the 52% of the population that voted in favor of this goal," Alsina said.

In fact, the foreign minister is open to "campaigning" to let members of the party know why Junts should still be part of the executive.