Only a political situation as exceptional as the one endured by Catalonia has allowed the focus over these last two years to be much less than normal on the Catalan government's performance. On its day to day management. With the legitimate government in prison or exile and a galloping repression of the independence movement that is indiscriminate and at times savage, the political parties have had to forge new leadership teams and adapt to a situation that has been neither easy nor comfortable and for which no survival manual had been written. Under these circumstances, Catalonia has gone since the end of 2017 without a new government budget (the opposition parties have preferred to hand Quim Torra's executive a defeat instead of improving the quality of life for their fellow citizens), the president has been convicted to one and a half years of prohibition from holding public office (it remains to be seen if the Central Electoral Commission will try to have this sentence executed on Friday) and the two governing parties, JxCat and ERC, have fallen into backroom battles, forgetting that although they might be rivals at the ballot box, the enemy is another.
In the midst of this continuing cold war, ERC's accord with Spain's PSOE to facilitate the investiture of Pedro Sánchez as new Spanish prime minister and the fact that it contains a commitment to creating a negotiation table between governments - along with a consultation to validate the agreements which that table might reach - has brought the discord between JxCat and ERC to a climax. So much so that president Torra (JxCat) called his vice president Pere Aragonès (ERC) to a meeting at the Palau de la Generalitat this Thursday with great seriousness and apparent anger.
We have seen so many disagreements in recent times that it is not expected that events will come to the worst. At least for the moment. Although, in this case, the turbulence stirred up in some of the independence movement by the ERC-PSOE agreement to allow the Sanchez investiture is significant, as reflected by the critical views taken by key civil group the Catalan National Assembly and the pro-independence Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. And it seems that swords will be kept at the ready pending the key meeting of the Central Electoral Commission on Friday, which will have to focus on two crucial issues: Oriol Junqueras' immunity and Quim Torra's disqualification from holding office. The political and press noise from Madrid seeks the rejection of the first matter, in opposition to the EU Court of Justice ruling, and the urgent execution of the second.
We'll have to wait a few days to find out whether there is any room to stitch the Catalan government back together or if the end of the legislature will be precipitated and the desired calendar, which would leave the calling of the next Catalan election as long as possible, becomes impossible. The internal problems and the administrative and judicial interference make it difficult to know one way or the other. In the meantime, the players will continue to eye each other suspiciously and carry on despite the undisguised loss of their mutual trust.