Parliament speaker and former jailed leader become Junts party presidents

Laura Borràs and Jordi Turull will share role equally after Carles Puigdemont stepped down

Laura Borràs, left, with Jordi Turull, right, in Argelès-sur-Mer on June 4, 2022 (by Natàlia Segura)
Laura Borràs, left, with Jordi Turull, right, in Argelès-sur-Mer on June 4, 2022 (by Natàlia Segura) / ACN

ACN | Argèles-sur-Mer

June 4, 2022 05:14 PM

The Catalan parliament speaker, Laura Borràs, and the formerly jailed leader, Jordi Turull, have been elected as the new Junts party presidents. The general assembly of the pro-independence political force voted in favor of the new leaders on Saturday in France’s Argelès-sur-Mer.

The new leaders take on the role of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former imprisoned pro-independence activist, Jordi Sànchez, now pardoned by the Spanish government, who led the party since the beginning.

While Laura Borràs has become the new party president with 1,776 votes, Turull is now the new secretary-general of the political force after 1,854 people voting for him.

Despite the future of the party will not be revealed until July, sources confirmed to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that their goal is to "maintain the horizontality" of the force, but also to "reactivate" it ahead of the second term of the government.  

Junts is the current junior coalition partner of the Catalan government, led by Pere Aragonès, from the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya.

Unity despite two factions

The new presidency team is an interesting one for Catalan politics as the leadership of Junts is shared between two factions of the pro-independence party. On one side, Laura Borràs has a stronger will towards, if needed, unilateral independence for Catalonia. On the other side, Jordi Turull is part of the most moderate sector of the political force. 

Both leaders, however, called for "unity" and to agree on "every day" and the "most important" decisions to coordinate Junts, "a political force with diverse people," Jordi Turull said when the deal was announced on May 10. "We’ll do everything together," he added at the time. 

On a similar note, "we want to be all together to go forward," Laura Borràs, current Parliament speaker, explained that same day. 

The former secretary-general, Jordi Sànchez, urged both politicians in early May to have "loyalty to the group." He called for both factions of the force to set "a shared minimum." 

While the agreement had been welcomed by some Catalan ministers such as health minister Josep Maria Argimon or exteriors minister Victoria Alsina, others, like vice president Jordi Puigneró, rejected it.

Junts per Catalunya

Junts per Catalunya are a pro-independence party that was led by Carles Puigdemont that avoids left-wing or right-wing labels. They are, however, a splinter group of the successors to the old center-right force that once dominated Catalan politics.

The party came behind ERC in the last Catalan election, held in February 2021. This was the first time since democracy was returned to Spain that ERC finished as the most popular pro-independence party.