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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Catalonia: The Separatist Government Is in Chaos as Hardliners Vote to Quit

The timetable of the transition to independence has been the main source of disagreement between moderates and hardliners

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

SPAIN: The leader of the territory’s pro-independence administration on Friday denied plans to stage an early election after its junior coalition partner withdrew, sparking the worst crisis for the separatist movement in the Spanish province of Catalonia in ten years.

Pere Aragones, the leader of the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya party in Catalonia, said he would announce a new cabinet composition soon after junior partner Junts withdrew its support for the regional coalition.

After the regional election in February 2021, the two parties established a partnership, although their differences over how to best achieve their mutual goal of Catalan independence are severe and entrenched. In contrast to Junts, who favours a more confrontational and unilateral strategy for leaving Spain, the ERC wants a political resolution that is reached through negotiation.

The situation reached a boiling point last week when Catalonia’s ERC president, Aragonès, fired his Junts deputy, Jordi Puigneró, after it became known that Junts were intending to issue a vote of no confidence in his cabinet. Junts announced its resignation from the government on Friday following a vote in which 55.7% of its members chose to exit the coalition.

According to Laura Borràs, head of Junts, “We assumed he was capable of leading a coalition government, and it hasn’t worked out that way. Therefore, the Junts have won and Aragonès has lost.”

Aragonès stated that his minority government will “dedicate itself completely to serving the public” and has ruled out holding early regional elections.A reorganisation was another promise he made.

He declared, “Today, everyone must think of the nation, of Catalonia, and of all people, in the challenging months ahead. The country winning is the main concern. All the Catalan institutions, including me, are accountable for this.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was in Prague for the European Union summit, said during a news conference that “government stability is crucial in these difficult and complex times.”

In the coalition, the timetable for the transition to independence has been the main source of disagreement and the dividing line between moderates and hardliners.

Junts, which led the prosperous northeastern area when its government supported independence in 2012, supports a more muscular approach, eschewing talks with Madrid and potentially repeating the events of 2017.

Then, despite being prohibited by the courts and facing opposition from Madrid, Catalonia organised an independence referendum and later declared its brief independence.

As a result of those incidents, a number of prominent figures served sentences of imprisonment totaling over four years, while others chose to live in exile.

Last week, the Catalan leader fired his Junts-affiliated deputy after the party suggested a parliamentary vote of confidence in the government. This prompted Junts to announce plans for an internal vote on staying in the government.

Esquerra is in favour of negotiating with Madrid to establish a legally binding referendum and increase Catalans’ support for leaving Spain. The Catalan government’s Centre for Opinion Studies conducted a survey this summer, finding that 41% of Catalans support independence while 52% reject it.

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  • Sadaf Hasan
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