Parties distance themselves from talk of left-wing coalition

Alliance of groups both for and against independence had been mooted as alternative to pro-indy government

Socialists presidential candidate Salvador Illa at a Catalan News Agency (ACN) press conference, February 1, 2021 (by Àlex Recolons)
Socialists presidential candidate Salvador Illa at a Catalan News Agency (ACN) press conference, February 1, 2021 (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 1, 2021 07:44 PM

Left-wing parties from opposite sides of the debate on Catalan independence have distanced themselves from the possibility of entering a governing coalition together.

An alliance of left-leaning groups had been mooted as an alternative to a pro-independence government, but figures from both Esquerra (ERC), in favor of independence, and the Socialists, against it, poured cold water on the idea on Monday.

The Socialists' presidential candidate Salvador Illa said that he didn't see his party entering into talks with Esquerra. "I want a government for change," he said. He told a Catalan News Agency (ACN) press conference that he was in favor of a minority government led by his party with CatECP, similar in makeup to the Spanish executive and Barcelona City Council.

Esquerra's Pere Aragonès was similarly dismissive of the idea of a coalition involving his party and the Socialists. "We will not help Salvador Illa, neither with an abstention nor by voting for him, " he said, insisting: "We're running to beat him." Aragonès, Catalan vice-president during the last term and acting president since Quim Torra was ousted from office, described the two parties as having "opposite" projects.

The idea of a coalition of the left did find favor, however, with one of the smaller parties. Jéssica Albiach of Catalunya En Comú-Podem (CatECP) argued that "for Catalans to be reunited, as the Socialists say" what was needed was "a broad agreement between left-wing parties."

First step

Illa's suggestion of governing with CatECP was criticized by Carlos Carrizosa, top of the party list for unionist Ciudadanos (Cs). Carrizosa said that this was just the first step on the way to a three-party agreement involving Esquerra.

The leader of the People's Party (PP) in Madrid, Pablo Casado, said that the Socialists intend to make "a Catalan young Frankenstein" by pacting with pro-independence forces. Casado also implied that the PP would not support a unionist government led by Salvador Illa.

"Commitment" to a Catalan republic

Meanwhile, Junts per Catalunya's presidential candidate Laura Borràs, accused ERC and CUP of "not working" to make Catalonia's declaration of independence in 2017 a reality. Junts said on Saturday that if pro-independence parties win more than 50% of the votes in the election on February 14 they have a "commitment" to implement a Catalan republic.

The head of the pro-independence PDeCAT list, Àngels Chacón, said she would not vote for a minority government made up of the Socialists and CatEMP, nor would she vote for a government involving the far-left pro-independence CUP.