Within the space of a few hours, Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC) have sorted out their candidature lists for the Catalan elections on February 14th next year. In the case of JxCat, 18 names were chosen through a vote by party membership this Sunday while, on Saturday, the national council of ERC gave its approval to all the candidate lists in the four Catalan constituencies. In both of the two major pro-independence parties it can be said that the lists will be clearly marked by the personality and strategies of the respective leaders, Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, as their clear stamp can be seen on the names who will finally run in the election campaign and end up in the Parliament of Catalonia.
In the case of JxCat, after Laura Borràs's victory in the primaries a couple of weeks ago, making her the candidate for president of Catalonia, what the winners of this second round of primaries have in common is that the great majority are supporters of a path of greater confrontation with Madrid and are people trusted by president Puigdemont. As a minimum, this profile applies to Joan Canadell, Elsa Artadi, Jordi Puigneró, Lluís Puig and Josep Rius; and the respective list leaders for Tarragona, Girona, and Lleida: Albert Batet, Gemma Geis and Ramon Tremosa. Internally it seems clear that the men and women with backing from Puigdemont's Waterloo base have found more support than those who had the endorsement of the political prisoners in Lledoners.
Although it is certain that Puigdemont will end up leading the list for the Barcelona constituency, despite the fact that there is great silence on this, the Borràs-Canadell ticket will carry the weight of the campaign. Canadell's victory in the second round of primaries, although predicted, is still striking, as he is an outsider in the organization and his only public responsibility has been with the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, of which he holds the presidency. It seems quite obvious that the party faithful have opted for figures who are used to the dialectic of confrontation, and are at least partially critical of Catalan government policy.
The ERC list, to be headed by Pere Aragonès is, unlike JxCat's, clearly centred on the party's current holders of institutional positions. In addition to Aragonès, the presence of the parliamentary speaker, Roger Torrent (number 3), and three current ministers, Alba Vergés (6), Ester Capella (8) and Chakir El Homrani (9), as well as former minister Ernest Maragall (7), demonstrate this. The election as number two of Laura Vilagrà, former mayor of the town of Santpedor for twelve years, responds to the desire of Aragonès to strengthen the management profile of the list, thinking about the future government and the economic and social management of the post-Covid era.
The fact that the Republican Left has had its presidential candidate defined for a long time now along with its strategic commitment to a path of pragmatism has allowed it to explain its policy lines in a natural way over recent months. Examples of this are its support for the Spanish government budget and the criticism of JxCat for not breaking off the agreement with the PSC for the Barcelona provincial authority, the Diputació, following last week's charging of its president Núria Marín, also mayor of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat.
ERC will not move from this position, which Oriol Junqueras reiterated this Sunday in an article published in the newspaper La Vanguardia in which, with regard to dialogue with the Spanish government, he said the following: "It would be naive to believe that political dialogue with the state will bear tangible fruit immediately, but to believe that we can do without it would be a very costly irresponsibility."