Parliament speaker and formerly imprisoned leader agree to run for Junts party presidency together

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

Josep Rull, Laura Borràs and Jordi Turull in a Junts' campaign picture in Reus on January 29, 2021 (by Bernat Vilaró)
Josep Rull, Laura Borràs and Jordi Turull in a Junts' campaign picture in Reus on January 29, 2021 (by Bernat Vilaró) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 10, 2022 11:33 AM

The Catalan parliament speaker, Laura Borràs, and the formerly imprisoned pro-independence leader, Jordi Turull, agreed on Tuesday to run for the Junts (JxCat) party presidency together and share the role equally. Both will share the role, as Spanish La Vanguardia newspaper first reported and Catalan News Agency (ACN) later confirmed.

Borràs will become the president of Junts, while Turull will be named as secretary-general, after the party congress in France’s Argelès-sur-Mer on June 4.

They will be replacing former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, now living in Belgium, and formerly imprisoned Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez, now pardoned by the Spanish government.

The deal has been reached at the last moment, as candidates to replace Puigdemont and Sànchez had until Tuesday at 4pm to present their candidature.

Unity despite two factions

The deal is an interesting one for Catalan politics as the future leadership of Junts will be 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, have 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 during a joint press conference on Tuesday. "We’ll do everything together," he added. 

"We want to be all together to go forward," Laura Borràs, current Parliament speaker, explained. 

The current secretary-general, Jordi Sànchez, who will step down on June 4, urged the candidates to have "loyalty to the group." He called for both factions of the force to set "a shared minimum." 

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