Monday, November 28

Aragonès recovers former leaders of PSC, Convergència and Podem for the new Government

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has already decided the configuration of his new Government alone. The new Executive after the break with Junts combines Republican cadres with former leaders of the PSC, Convergència and Podem. Returning to the political front line are the historic ex-conseller of the PSC Joaquim Nadal as head of Universities, the former deputy of Convergència Carles Campuzano as conseller of Social Rights and the former leader of Podem Gemma Ubasart in the Justice portfolio.

Junts’ slam on the coalition left seven departments vacant, in addition to the vice presidency. The president wanted the Govern crisis to be resolved quickly and in 48 hours, after maintaining several contacts with political parties and economic and social agents, he has already been able to announce the new names of the Executive. “Catalonia will have a country government”, Aragonès tweeted this Sunday.

The task facing the new ERC Government alone is complicated to say the least. To the parliamentary precariousness with which a Government starts with only 33 of 135 deputies of the Parliament is added the hard opposition that Junts anticipates after its break with the Republicans. In addition, the leader of the ERC, Oriol Junqueras, this Saturday vetoed the PSC as budget support for 2023, which makes it difficult to approve the accounts. With these wickers, the names of the new ministers represent an attempt by Aragonès to reach agreements with the opposition in Parliament.

The dismissal of the councilors of Junts will be published this Monday in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC), as will the appointment of the new councillors, with which they will already be able to attend the weekly meeting of the Consell Executiu in the Palace of the Generalitat. These are the names of the new Govern de Aragonès:

Economy: Natalia Mas. Economist with experience in the European Central Bank (ECB), the World Bank (WB) and the banking sector, he was one of the signings of Oriol Junqueras during his time in the vice-presidency of the Generalitat, in which he held the direction of Economic Analysis of the Executive. He was promoted in the Catalan administration by the hand of ERC until he reached the Ministry of Foreign Action and then that of Public Finance, where his boss was the then Vice President and Minister of Economy, Pere Aragonès. Her last position in the administration before her promotion as Minister was as General Director of Industry.

Foreign Action: Meritxell Serret. Currently a deputy for ERC, she already knows what it is like to be at the meetings of the Consell Executiu. She was Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Carles Puigdemont, and after 155 she went to Belgium together with the former president and several former ministers. During her time in Brussels, she was the Generalitat’s delegate to the EU. In March 2021 she returned to Spain and regularized her legal situation before the Supreme Court. She now faces a one-year disqualification request for disobedience. If convicted, she would have to leave politics.

Universities: Joaquim Nadal. It is one of the surprises of the new Govern de Aragonès. A veteran with years of experience in Catalan politics, most of it under the acronym of the PSC, where he was framed in his Catalanist sector. He was the first mayor of Girona since the recovery of democracy until 2002, and a socialist deputy in the Parlament from 1984 to 2012. The general public remembers him for his time as Minister of Public Works in the first tripartite of Pasqual Maragall, where He also served as spokesman for the Government. He repeated at the head of the Catalan infrastructures in the Executive of José Montilla. He resigned from the PSC in 2015 after lamenting the resignation of the Socialists to defend the right to decide.

Territory: Juli Fernàndez. The current ERC deputy and former mayor of Sabadell is one of the party men that Aragonès has placed in the Government. He was a delegate of the Government of the Generalitat in Barcelona from 2018 to 2021. He was the first mayor of Sabadell thanks to a pact between the left after the stage of the socialist Bustos and held the commanding staff between 2015 and 2017, to later be lieutenant of mayor. During the tripartite he was general director of Youth and of the Catalan Youth Agency.

Health: Manel Balcells. Specialist in orthopedic surgery and traumatology and in physical education and sports medicine, he is considered one of the promoters of sports medicine in Catalonia. He also has institutional experience, since he was part of the tripartite: he was director of strategy and coordination of the Department of Health and secretary of strategy and coordination of the department. After the crisis with ERC in 2006 he briefly assumed the position of Minister of Universities. He then dedicated himself to leading the Biocat research center. During the pandemic he was one of the 3D respirator designers.

Social Rights: Carlos Campuzano. Current director of the Catalan Federation of Intellectual Disabilities (Dincat), his previous stage in the institutions was linked to Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), where he joined its social democratic sector. He was a councilor of the Vilanova i la Geltrú city council, a deputy in the Parlament and a deputy in Congress for Convergència, as well as being a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with which he has acted as international observer in electoral processes.

Justice: Gemma Ubasart. With a long career in the academic field, this doctor in Political Science had a brief foray into politics with the birth of Podemos and its Catalan delegation. In 2015 she was responsible for plurinationality at the state level and led Podem, but after the Catalan elections in September she abandoned all her positions in disagreement with the interference of the state leadership in the campaign. Back in academia, she has developed research on welfare regimes and social policies, conflicts, the penal system and human rights, local government and politics, and Spanish and Catalan politics.