The acting president, Pere Aragonès, with the Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó (right) and Quim Torra (left) MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI / EL PAÍS
The already official horizon of a forthcoming regional elections as a result of Quim Torra’s disqualification as president has been received with tangible relief in Catalonia. Because it opens the possibility – perhaps more remote than probable – of a return to something similar to normality in the medium term. In the immediate, it offers a gap to temper the tension caused by the unemployed. It does not yet foreshadow what is desirable, but it is better than what there was: a fragmentary unilateralism, as it was under Carles Puigdemont, rhetorical and suffocating.
Torra’s own farewell illustrates how his commitment to the general “confrontation”, today, is shipwrecked. The victimizing symbolism intended by a full parliamentary tribute was dulled by the deliberate absence of a half-chamber and the lack of enthusiasm of its supporters. Also the squalid street commotion to Torra on his departure from the Generalitat was stained with disobedience towards the only correct instructions that he gave in his mandate: to keep distances and wear a mask to prevent the virus. And the celebration of the third anniversary of the illegal 1-O referendum radiographed its 30 months: it attracted only a few hundred violent members of the CDR, experts in the sophisticated task of burning containers.
The failure of this third-rate political funeral, which was called by the usual activist organizations, should not be minimized, since on other occasions they attracted large audiences and now have had a marginal echo. That decline may not be permanent, given the persistence of political unrest, but it is real right now. It is combined with the state of mind indicated in the latest survey by the Generalitat itself: 56.6% of Catalans want the Government to prioritize the management of public services within its competence over the matter of political litigation (39.9% ). Data that certify the common sense of citizens in this worrying wave of the pandemic confronted to the senseless drifts of some of its leaders.
The stage of the Government that is now opening is under the “coordination” of Vice President Pere Aragonès, from Esquerra: legally, an alternate and interim presidency, but reduced in form and substance. A gesture towards Torra, whose successor will not occupy the office, title, budgetary resources, or all the functions of the substitute president. It is a toll that the Republicans pay Junts per Catalunya for having the party of their temporary rise in peace.
The Government is also threatened by the risk of paralysis and its prolonged inoperation, since its partners have promised to consecrate the total autonomy of regional ministers as if they were viceroys. But at least they have signed a guarantee to avoid too many excesses, since the more pragmatic Esquerra will be able to exercise the veto on all “extraordinary” decisions, a novelty compared to the forgettable previous mandate.
It is also relevant that Aragonès (and Esquerra) have countered the radical claim to endow the next elections with a plebiscitary and unilateralist bias. Although at the same time they postulate “repeating” the composition of the current Government, expanding it. It is a contradiction, since those who face daily due to their strategic differences differ in tactics. And in management. To repeat the experience is to repeat the paralyzing division.