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Opposition scolds ‘failed formula’ of ERC-Junts coalition government

Socialists, who won most votes from last election, criticize “weakened” Esquerra, who will lead new administration

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17 May 2021 07:18 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Esquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya will lead a new executive leaning further to the right, according to Socialist party spokesperson Eva Granados. 

The Socialist MP has criticized the new government deal announced by the two main pro-independence parties on Monday which will see Pere Aragonès lead a new administration made up of 14 ministries, including the two newly-created departments of Feminism and Climate Action. 

The new government will be formed with "a well-known and failed formula” composed of the main pro-independence parties, Granados says.

Junts "got the better of ERC" in the division of the ministries, the Socialist spokesperson said in a press conference on the day the new deal was announced. The party led by Carles Puigdemont from exile will head departments such as economy, health and justice. 

Granados believes that ERC and the man expected to be named the next Catalan president Pere Aragonès, are "weakened" from the weeks of negotiations that saw an agreement stalled until the eleventh hour.  She says the deal will not provide “a strong nor a stable government, but one more right-leaning and divisive.”

The Socialists will make for a "strong" opposition party, she added, but one that will not get in the way of reaching agreements to "get out of the pandemic."

CatEPC warn of 'supervised' president 

Jéssica Albiach, leader of left-wing Catalunya En Comú-Podem, echoed the Socialists’ criticism of the deal, saying that Aragonès will be a “supervised” president. 

Albiach’s party picked up 8 seats in the February election and was in talks with ERC over forming a government until they broke off discussions when the pro-independence party avoided assuring that JxCat would not enter the cabinet. They are the only party not aligned with either side of the independence question.  

She said that "Junts won in the offices what they did not win in the ballot boxes." Albiach also lamented that Puigdemont’s party ended up "with the most relevant social councils and more budget." 

The anti-austerity politician also believes the government deal is one of a "failed legislature" that has an "expiration date": "Nothing has changed so that this time it will not fail again."

‘Lack of respect’ and preference for repeat elections

Far-right Vox's spokesperson in Parliament, Juan Garriga, criticized on Monday that ERC and JxCat had taken three months to come to an agreement. 

"It is a lack of respect," he said at a press conference in parliament in which he warned that Vox will be "very attentive" to the government's actions, and will "denounce any rupture of the constitutional order" in the courts. 

According to Garriga, the ERC-JxCat agreement has left "all entities very concerned", although organizations such as PIMEC, Catalonia’s small-and-medium-sized businesses association, and Foment del Treball, the largest business organisation in Catalonia, have celebrated that a government can be set up after months of internship.

Elsewhere, Ciudadanos MP Nacho Martín Blanco said the government agreement was a bad deal. 

Blanco warned that with ERC being in charge of the interior ministry, matters of security could be "complicated" as the department would be shaped by the agreement that the Republicans already have with the CUP and its model for policing. 

Cs, who fell from 36 seats in the previous term to just six in this one, also lamented that the priorities of the negotiation were for the place of the Council for the Republic and “propaganda of the independence push.”

General secretary of the People’s Party, Santi Rodríguez, admitted that he would have preferred to see repeat elections instead of the ERC-Junts agreement.

In an interview with TV3's 'Planta Baixa', Rodríguez considers the pact "bad news" for Catalan society. 

"This is good news for pro-independence activists, but not for Catalan society. From this point of view, we would have preferred a repeat election," he said. 

Rodriguez believes there will not be much difference between a government led by ERC and that of the last legislature chaired by Junts.

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  • Socialist spokesperson Eva Granados photographed in a press conference in April 2021 (by Guillem Guardiola)

  • Socialist spokesperson Eva Granados photographed in a press conference in April 2021 (by Guillem Guardiola)

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