The overwhelming vote, with support from 97.23% of those attending the national conference of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) for the strategic report that defines the dialogue table with the Spanish government as the tool to resolve the conflict between Catalonia and Spain, means that the roadmap of the party of Oriol Junqueras and Pere Aragonès is confirmed without any significant changes. The closing of ranks by the ERC grassroots with the leadership's proposal is highly significant for at least three reasons: the percentage of votes in favour makes it clear that the political reorientation approved in 2019 has become fully consolidated into the organization; secondly, ERC still thinks that the coldness of the Socialists towards the dialogue table is transitory and they will end up endowing it with political content; and, thirdly, the strategic line of a Catalan coalition government with Together for Catalonia (Junts) and simultaneous alliance with the PSOE and Unidas Podemos in Madrid is not in question, because the continuous disagreements with the Catalan party prevent them, for now, from rebuilding a cohesive project with any chance of winning.
The conference, at La Farga centre in l'Hospitalet coincided with the conference of Spanish regional presidents called by Pedro Sánchez, on the island of La Palma, which a Catalan president has attended the first time in person since 2012. This gesture by president Pere Aragonès, which on the other hand, in practice means a normalization of the relationship, although ERC defended that it was needed because of the exceptional nature of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the need to contribute to providing better care for refugees and a better response to the social and economic crisis. As is always the case in these multi-territorial forums, the message that comes out of it is always vague enough to leave room for someone other than pesident Pedro Sánchez. And, obviously, without any concretion.
At its conference, ERC has shown that it is a well-oiled organizational machine, with a very high degree of internal cohesion, without any major dissent or significant opposition, and with votes of a type that people used to call Bulgarian, because agreement with them is practically unanimous. It also closes ranks around a clear strategic line and consolidates its bicephalous model of operation, with a resemblance to a certain stage of the Basque Country's PNV. Junqueras is the indisputable leader of the party as president and the role of Aragonés is more institutional, which befits him as president of the government, although he also has a key base in the party in his role as general coordinator.
Their leaderships are perfectly recognizable and accepted, both inside the organization, and outside, in society. And this, like it or not, is a great asset in political activity, because in its absence what reigns is pandemonium, in which every leader goes to war on their own, where internal scrapping matters more than political projects for the people and where catching others out is the order of the day. Projects which, sooner or later, if there is no course correction, end up with profound divisions.