IÑAKI PARDO TORREGROSA / BARCELONA 28/10/2020
Miquel Iceta, Astrid Barrio and Josep Ramon Bosch a few weeks ago at the Casal del Llibre (Xavier Cervera)
Socialist party PSC will explore an alliance with Units, the Lliga Democràtica and Lliures
Iceta and Illa meet on Friday with representatives of the three Catalan parties
The PSC will explore whether a coalition with various actors of political Catalanism is viable with an eye to the next elections to Parliament, scheduled for February. In the last elections it already participated together with Units per Avançar, the heir party of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya. Now the socialists will study the possibility of expanding that alliance with the Democratic League and Lliures, with the aim of forming an alternative majority to the independence movement.
No meeting has yet taken place and the project is in the embryonic stage. For this Friday a meeting is scheduled at the Casal Joan Reventós, the headquarters of the Catalan Socialists, of leaders of the three parties –Ramon Espadaler, of Units; Astrid Barrio and Josep Ramon Bosch, from the Lliga; and Antoni Fernández Teixidó, from Lliures– with the leader of the PSC, Miquel Iceta, and the organization secretary, Minister Salvador Illa.
La Lliga, Lliures and Convergents signed an agreement this last summer to participate in the next elections together
Political catalanism has tried unsuccessfully in recent months to articulate a unitary candidacy that also groups together the pro-sovereignty opposed to the unilateral path such as the Partit Nacionalista de Catalunya (PNC) of Marta Pascal, and even the PDECat after consummating its breakup with the new Junts of Carles Puigdemont.
When verifying that it was not possible, the Lliga, Lliures and Convergents sealed an agreement last summer to present themselves in a single candidacy to the elections and agreed on a decalogue that is the master line of their union. Although there have always been contacts, Units rejected that formula and had been studying the possibility of alliances with the PNC since March and even tried to lead together with Albert Batlle a confluence of Catalanists. But in recent weeks, Unió’s heirs advocated for reissuing their agreement with the Socialists, who never closed the door to repeating the pact.
Convergents, which shares a commission with Lliga and Lliures to develop a joint electoral program, will not participate in Friday’s meeting. Its leader, ex-counsilor Germà Gordó, was prosecuted in the 3% case by the National Court, which investigates the corruption of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, and is cited as accused precisely on Friday for the separate piece of the alleged money laundering in this party.
The socialists already showed a year ago their willingness to dialogue with these actors of political Catalanism
This week’s appointment, which has been tried not to transcend and the protagonists have not publicized it, is not a strange fact. In December of last year, at the closing session of the last congress of the PSC, Iceta already advocated seeking alliances with those sectors of Catalanism, although there was no further specification. “I want to reach out to the left and the center, to autonomists and federalists, to all reformists”, he proclaimed after revealing that he would be the candidate for the PSC in the next elections. “I want to recover that old idea of Catalanism according to which united we advance and divided we go backwards”, he added to emphasize immediately afterwards that “the agreement is much better than the conflict” and that “negotiating is not giving up or surrendering, but moving forward”.
The parties that will meet on Friday welcomed then his proposal, which in reality “was not directed at parties but at political sectors”, as the socialist leader qualified the next day at a press conference, when he said that he was actually doing “a great call for change”.
Also included in that range was the then Poblet group, the PNC‘s germ, despite the fact that they are pro-sovereignty. A priori the door would not be closed to it – it seems it will done so for the PDECat and Convergents – but Iceta has already made it clear that if he manages to enter the Government in no way the objective will be the holding of a referendum, which is included in the plans of the PNC, even if as long-term.
In fact, the PSC leader announced that in the first months of 2020 the conversations with those parties would “multiply” and defended the dialogue between the different forces, but so far it has not materialized, although there have been contacts at all times despite the pandemic. Without going any further, Iceta presented with Bosch his book Catalonia, the false route (Deusto), a few days ago in an event in which Barrio also participated, at the Casa del Llibre in Barcelona.
However, the PSC already pointed out in December 2019 that the Catalan space was in full reformulation and that the panorama should be clarified before making any decision and taking any steps. From then until now on the table there have been various scenarios. As things stand, now the PNC and the PDECat would present themselves alone, Units with the PSC and the Lliga together with Lliures and Convergents. But that can change.
In any case, before the coronavirus pandemic became the priority of politicians, Iceta had publicly expressed his commitment to “a broad-based Government” after the elections. At no time was it detailed whether these alliances should be woven before or after the appointment with the polls. The first meeting will be held on Friday and the unknown will begin to clear.