Saturday, March 2

Illa rejects the “no to everything” and maintains the offer to Aragonès to negotiate the budgets

Saturday of hangover and movements in Catalan politics after the final slam of Junts to ERC. While the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, finalizes the configuration of the new Government, the parties have begun to position themselves before the new scenario. The first step has been taken by the head of the opposition and leader of the PSC, Salvador Illa, who has kept the offer to Aragonès to talk about the 2023 budgets, while the comuns have asked the president to negotiate a collaboration with the leftist groups that it extends to next year’s accounts and serves to prop up the entire legislature.

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The new stage opened with the departure of Junts from the Government once again gives prominence to the PSC and comuns, with whom Pere Aragonès will have to negotiate if he wants to pass laws and budgets. The president also wants to recover the confidence of the CUP, although the strategic discrepancies on the procés complicate it.

On a visit to the Berguedà region, Illa has maintained the course set by the PSC before the independence crisis: an outstretched hand to approve the next accounts given the context of the economic crisis while at the same time outlining herself as the only alternative to Aragonès. “We will continue working on the construction of an alternative to the Government but when the time comes, we are not in a hurry”, he remarked.

The most urgent thing, Illa has emphasized, is to approve the 2023 budgets, more after the minister in charge of piloting them, Jaume Giró (Junts), has left the Government. “Catalonia needs some budgets and it is better that they have broad support”, asserted Illa, for whom “building an alternative does not mean saying ‘no to everything’”.

“We offer to work for some country budgets”, has added the head of the opposition, who has been blunt in the face of criticism from PP, Ciudadanos and Vox for offering to negotiate the accounts: “I support Catalonia, not the Government” .

From the comuns, negotiations have been urged that go beyond the next accounts. After meeting with the party’s leadership, the leader of the comuns, Jéssica Albiach, reiterated the outstretched hand of the formation “to build stable progressive majorities”, although she has stressed that they will not give “any blank check” to the president.

Without explicitly proposing to negotiate the entry of the comuns into the Govern, Albiach has warned Aragonès that if the new Govern “does not have broad support” in the Parliament, it is doomed to failure. For this reason, he has demanded that the president open a round of contacts “to see if he has support, because now he only has 33 deputies.”

The mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, has moved in the same ambiguity as Albiach. “We need a Government that is not weak and stable and lasting alliances,” said Colau, who reiterated her outstretched hand “to build progressive majorities” such as those that have been tested in Barcelona.

Waiting for events, the CUP spokeswoman, Eulàlia Reguant, has assessed that the new Executive is “at a crossroads”. In her opinion, Aragonès must decide “if he continues as he is now or seeks alternatives to carry out his policies”-

Aragonès puts the new Government on track

For his part, Aragonès has begun to come into contact with the harsh reality that awaits him in the Parlament – ​​the ERC Government alone has only 33 of the 135 deputies in the Chamber – while intensifying the calls to new ministers and ministers. This Saturday the president has been working at the Palau de la Generalitat and at noon he has moved to the extraordinary meeting of the ERC executive.

There are seven portfolios that await a new holder, including Health, the one that manages the most money from the Government, or Economy, key to the accounts. It is not ruled out that some department that has been left with a vacant head, such as Social Affairs, will be integrated into some ministries that already belong to the Republicans.

The Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, explained that Aragonès and his team already have “very advanced” the structure of the new Government. The new ministers will all be from ERC, although Vilagrà has also advanced that she is working on the incorporation of independent “experts in their field”. The objective is that the new Executive is already underway at the weekly meeting of the Government next Tuesday.

Vilagrà has indicated that he wants to create “a strong, cohesive, loyal Government that faces economic and social challenges”, which allows for “maximum stability and security” in Catalonia. According to the minister, the economic and social agents, city councils, county councils and municipal entities will be heard.

The president of the ERC, Oriol Junqueras, has reaffirmed Vilagrà’s message and has made a “call for responsibility” of all political parties in a scenario of economic and social crisis. “Especially -he added- to those of us who share great goals for the country and resolve political conflicts”.

Despite the fact that he needs the support of the Socialists in Parliament to carry out the accounts, Junqueras has ruled out pacts with the Socialists as he does not see them “committed to the end of the repression”. The president of ERC thus tries to mark his own profile and avoid being captive to the socialists in the face of the triple budget negotiation that is coming for the accounts of the central government, the Generalitat and the Barcelona City Council.

Together rehearses a tough opposition

After leaving the Government of his own free will, Junts has begun to rehearse a style of tough opposition that is not going to grant even a week of grace to the new ERC Executive alone. If this Friday the president of Junts, Laura Borràs, questioned the “democratic legitimacy” of the new Govern de Aragonès, this Saturday the general secretary of the party, Jordi Turull, considered that the president only has two options: “Either a matter of trust or early elections”. The president has no intention of advancing elections or submitting to a matter of confidence, but of trying to exhaust the legislature.

For their part, Ciudadanos and PP have charged against the socialists. The leader of Citizens in Catalonia, Carlos Carrizosa, has accused the PSC and the comuns of wanting to give Aragonès peace of mind so that he can continue doing “whatever he wants”, and has referred to Illa and the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, as “floaters of independence,” reports Europa Press.

At the same time, Carrizosa has rejected that Aragonès submit to a matter of confidence “which he has already refused to do”, but has said that they would have no problem supporting a motion of censure presented by the Socialists and with Illa as a candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat.

For the leader of the Catalan PP, Alejandro Fernández, Sánchez and Illa are “delivered” to Pere Aragonès, which leads the PSC to miss “a historic opportunity” to build an alternative to independence. With the polls in favor, Fernández wants a rush that Salvador Illa does not have.