The expected agreement between the PSOE and Podemos for the investiture of Pedro Sánchez as new Spanish prime minister, with Pablo Iglesias having agreed to stay out of the picture, is on track but still not completely resolved arithmetically. What it lacks is the votes of the pro-independence parties, which Sánchez didn't want to depend on in order to avoid an immediate resumption of the criticisms he got to know well a few months ago: that his was a "Frankenstein government" - an expression coined by the deceased Alfredo Rubalcaba - and a government held hostage by those who want to break up Spain.
But those votes, which are essential to him, even if it's just through the abstentions of one of the two Catalan pro-independence parties, Republican Left (ERC) or Together for Catalonia (JxCat), are not yet 100% secure for the Socialist leader. The two parties are leaning towards a position of facilitating the PSOE-Podemos government but they also fear upsetting part of the pro-independence electorate and not being able to convince these voters of what they are doing. From the jailed leaders in Lledoners prison, the messages are in favour of abstention, and from those in exile, they are similar, in part; but in Barcelona and at party branches around Catalonia the opinions are much more varied. Previously, when there seemed little prospect of an agreement being reached between the Socialists and Podemos, it was all a bit easier, but if the coalition train doesn't derail again, it will be necessary for some pro-independence votes to emerge from the 'no' position. If not, the arithmetic won't work.
Since Iglesias made his move on Friday afternoon, the independence movement has been considering the options before it, with the phones unusually busy for a weekend in late July. Moreover, what would they do in the event of another Spanish election in November in which the Catalan Socialists would have the wind behind them, the prisoners will have received their verdicts - Junqueras, Sànchez, Rull and Turull won't be at the head of the candidatures again - and the effect of a harsh sentence, in electoral terms, is not known? These are initial questions to be formulated, before also factoring in the concerns about a critical reaction from the ANC civil group - like that which JxCat received after its recent pacts with Socialists - and the approaching Catalan National Day, the Diada.
But the comment made by ERC's Gabriel Rufián a few days ago still holds water, and broad sectors of the political space led by Carles Puigdemont tend to think along similar lines: that if PSOE and Podemos do their homework, we won't be the ones to stop them. And they are doing that work - with the Socialists apparently having been caught out by their own strategy - and making up for lost time.