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For the presentation of the Catalan government budget to end up being a battle within the government itself has a strong air of incoherence, feebleness and end of legislature. But if anyone wants this legislature to resist for a few more months and not be brought to an end right now, then both parties, both, need to stop setting traps for each other and wait a bit, as the election campaign is still far away. The latest incident relating to the presentation of the budget suggests a spirit of "get out of my way, I'm doing it". Here, as in any country, the budget is presented by the minister of the economy. In Catalonia, this has been the case with different governments of very distinct political colours. I have neither been able to recall nor find exceptions to this unwritten rule, though I don't rule out that it may have occurred at some point since the first Catalan election of the post-Franco era in 1980.

It is logical that this is the case, since the task of drawing up a budget - which, as well, is usually the most important law which parliament passes - is huge and for any economy minister it is, in this context, an important day. The fact that the Catalan government has survived since 2017 by extending the budget passed in that year by Carles Puigdemont's government also demonstrates the urgency of new accounts. In Catalonia budget day is the moment of the vice president and economy minister, Pere Aragonès, who, together with his team, has reached agreement to get the public accounts approved with the left-wing Commons for 2020. Politics also has its rules and it is good that they are maintained with the appropriate courtesy. There is no easy explanation of why president Quim Torra should have wanted to intervene, as it could be easily interpreted as an attempt to put his vice president in his place and win a few headlines, as if none of them had learnt that, more and more these days, such headlines last a maximum of a few hours or a few minutes. Scarcely any longer.

If Aragonès's party ERC are right in expressing their displeasure at this, president Torra himself is acting with correct authority when he asks minister Alfred Bosch to begin the procedures for the Pedro Sánchez government to convene the bilateral Spain-Catalonia commission foreseen under the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. It may be a mischievous move, but each member of the government has a role to play and there can be no exchange of their functions. The same is true on setting the date of the Catalan election, which is a non-transferable power of the president and it is neither able to be delegated nor is the head of the executive obliged to reach agreement on it with anyone.

It should not be too much to ask, though it actually might be in this internecine squabble for pro-independence hegemony, that the legislature is brought to a tidy end and that the coalition government ends up being that, a coalition government. Not a government in (permanent) dispute.

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