Over a bloodless weekend which saw multiple casualties in the PDeCAT establishment, Catalan presidents Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra have taken the party's main strongholds and, this time, ousted those hostile to their pro-independence policy. Their lists of candidates for Madrid, the European Parliament and Barcelona city council are a clear, decisive triumph for the most pro-independence wing of the party which was born to substitute Convergència and which has had in only three years an enormously convulsive life. The most important headlines are four: firstly, president Puigdemont's decision to be a candidate for the European Parliament and, in practice, face off against his former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras; secondly, the important role for the prisoners from Junts per Catalunya, who are heading three of the four provincial lists for the Congress; thirdly, the departure from the Catalan government of two heavyweights in Elsa Artadi, heading to Barcelona city council, and Laura Borràs, after Jordi Sànchez, heading to Madrid; and, finally, the sidelining of those who had been in charge of the parliamentary party in Madrid, Carles Campuzano and Jordi Xuclà, who are off the lists.
In the Catalan election on 21st December 2017, Puigdemont won the battle and put together Junts per Catalunya's candidacies taking a step forwards and accepting to be a candidate for the Parliament; now he's repeated the move. The vast majority of the mayors elected in 2015 from Convergència i Unió candidacies would like to have the president in exile in Brussels as their great electoral asset on 26th May. He had been resisting this possibility for a long time and rejected it each time he was asked. Among other reasons, because he supported having a joint pro-independence candidacy for Europe and then to not face Junqueras at the ballot box, a battle which is painful in many aspects for many sectors of the independence movement. It seems obvious that the two reasons have been balanced out in recent weeks as a result of the disagreements seen, the clearest example of which was his refusal to sign a joint article in one of the large European newspapers regarding the trial being held in the Supreme Court.
President Torra, who, for the first time, has had an active role in a process of preparing candidacies, sacrifices two pieces, Artadi and Borràs, who enjoy his greatest trust and who have been loyal to him from the beginning, in exchange for having a greater control of the whole playing board of Catalan politics, talks in Madrid and in the city hall on the other side of Barcelona plaça de Sant Jaume. Within one or two weeks, the substitutions will have to take place in the presidency and culture ministries, and also at justice, whose minister, Esther Capella, plans to accompany Ernest Maragall in ERC's candidacy for Barcelona. In the first case, the choice remains the mayor of La Garriga, Meritxell Budó, who's just turned 49 and enjoys the utmost confidence of Puigdemont and Jordi Turull, who was fired as presidency minister by article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. It will have to be another woman at culture, like at justice, if they don't want to reduce the role of women in the government.
Although so far the Catalan government has been protected from the scuffles between the large pro-independence parties, we'll have to see how the elections shake up the status quo. Torra and his deputy, Pere Aragonès, have an important role to play if they don't want a parliamentary election until 2020 at least. In any case, putting together the candidacies and the fight for a shared space in three elections forecasts moments of notable tension. How many? We'll see in time.