Joan Tapia. 18 May 2021
President Editorial Committee El Periodico
Since the 14-F elections, it has taken three months for the two parties that have governed since the 2017 elections to agree on the start of the new legislature. Given the radical refusal of independence to any transversal government – which excludes the PSC, which was the first on 14-F – perhaps we are facing both an inevitable and less bad outcome.
Catalonia could not go to new elections and be until after the summer with a government in office that could not address the serious problems posed by the end of the pandemic, the economic recovery and the social consequences of the crisis. Furthermore, it would have been a sign of incapacity and lack of ‘seny’ (common sense), the worst message that Catalonia should issue at this time.
The announcement of a government pact – which the JxCat bases have yet to approve in a still unknown question – is thus perhaps the least bad of the solutions to the dangerous ‘impasse’ we had reached. Having Govern was the first subject. We will have to wait for its exact composition for a first analysis. But, from the outset, after the sigh of relief for having avoided repeating elections, it is necessary to point out facts that do not incite optimism.
The first is that all the polls indicate that independence is not the great concern of the Catalans today. However, at the press conference this Monday of the ‘vice president’ Pere Aragonès and Jordi Sànchez, general secretary of JxCat, full of generalities and not very specific, it was clear that independence was a priority. It is an objective subscribed to by the three parties (ERC, JxCat and the CUP) that have a majority in Parliament, but it is not what the citizens prefer. In the weekend survey of this newspaper, 75% affirmed that the Government’s priority should be the recovery of the economy after the pandemic and only 22% opted for solving the political conflict.
But in addition, independence has divided the Catalans into two halves for too many years, and it was precisely the schism on the roadmap to the own State that made the previous Government, chaired by Quim Torra, unable not only to overcome the strong internal disputes, but also that the parties that supported it – the same ones that are now agreeing again – were unable to elect a new ‘president’ and thus end the legislature.
The facts are there and they should serve, as a minimum, so that the new Government tries not to make the same mistakes as the previous one. Or, worse, than the penultimate presided over by Puigdemont.
But it would be absurd, as unproductive, to condemn the future on the basis of the past from the outset. Pere Aragonès is a ruler who has lived through very difficult times and ERC has been able to draw conclusions from the errors by admitting that unilateralism – the breaking of the law – is not the best way to progress.
It is to be hoped that the new Government will know how to deal with the political problems, economic recovery and social equality facing Catalonia with more experience. And that would be somewhat less complicated if the dialogue between the Government and the opposition were more open than in the last legislature. Especially when the PSC, the first of the opposition, will also be key in the negotiation of many disputes with Madrid.
Let us trust that the Aragonese Government gets it right, is not a prisoner of its difficult internal balance and manages to insert its objectives within the framework of what is feasible in Spain and Europe today. It is the great challenge for all of Catalonia.