untitled design

Catalan separatist leader resigns and refuses to support socialists

The president of the Generality of Catalonia said this Monday (13) that he would leave politics after the disastrous performance of his separatist party in the regional election, which saw Spain's socialists take a historic turn in the independence movement.

Pere Aragones' moderate Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) party remains the socialists' best hope — who won the majority of votes in Sunday's election (12), but not enough to win a majority — to form a government in the prosperous region.

Aragones, who led Catalonia for three years, said his party would not support the Socialists, telling them to instead appeal to the hardline Junts separatist party.

“The ERC will remain in opposition, which is where the citizens have placed us,” he told reporters.

The Socialists, led locally by Salvador Illa, had 42 seats in Catalonia's 135-seat chamber, with more than 99% of votes counted, while their usual coalition partner, the far-left Sumar party, won six. Junts had 35 seats and ERC had 20.

To win an investiture vote to form a government, parties must have 68 seats in the first round and a simple majority in the second.

Nuria Parlon, a senior socialist official, told reporters that her preferred option was a left-wing deal with the ERC and Sumar, with a minority government supported by other parties as an alternative.

Regional voting also has implications for the stability of the national government.

The ERC has presided over a period of calming tensions with Spain's Socialist-led central government following the turbulent years after Catalonia held an illegal independence referendum in 2017 and briefly declared independence, triggering a constitutional crisis.

Amnesty

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has pardoned separatist leaders convicted over the independence campaign and offered a controversial amnesty to others still being prosecuted. The ERC, in turn, supported Sánchez's minority government at the national level.

The fruits of this more conciliatory approach were reflected in Sunday night's good result for the Socialists, while the ERC lost significant support.

Now, she must decide whether to remain firm in rejecting the Socialists' proposals to support her in forming a government, which could force a new vote.

Ignacio Jurado, a political scientist at Madrid's Carlos 3rd University, said the ERC may decide that its voters may have punished it for having too friendly relations with Madrid and raising the price of its support at regional and national levels. In the past, demands included control of the region's train network and taxes.

The harder-line separatist Junts party also supported the minority National Socialist government.

But its leader, Carles Puigdemont, told reporters on Monday that he would not support the formation of a regional socialist government and that if the socialists turned to the conservative Popular Party, the Junts would also withdraw their support for the national government.

Cristina Monge, an independent political analyst, said continued support from the ERC and Junts was crucial to the stability of Spain's national government.

“If one of them, probably Puigdemont, is not included in the Catalonia agreement at all, it could put the Spanish government in a very difficult position,” she said.

Source: CNN Brasil

You may also like

Get the latest

Stay Informed: Get the Latest Updates and Insights

 

Most popular