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The president of Catalonia, Quim Torra, and his vice president, Pere Aragonès, held a joint press conference on Friday, after presenting an institutional declaration, in the grimmest week of this government. The drift towards the precipice of an executive which was unable to strike the right note with regard to unfortunate police actions, statements in government events that were worse than doubtful, sharp exchanges in Parliament between the two parties of the government's pro-independence majority and several criticisms made via whatsapp or in the corridors of the Catalan chamber. It seems that this teetering ever closer to the cliff-edge has now stopped, although if we are honest, no-one can be certain that the danger of falling into the abyss has disappeared.

The first real test will be the parliamentary session called for next Tuesday afternoon, when the debate postponed on Thursday will be resumed. It will take up where it left off: looking at the delegation of the votes of exiled president Puigdemont and the deputies in his parliamentary group imprisoned in Lledoners jail: Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull. Until this debate is concluded, it will not be fully clear that the conflict affecting the government majority is really over. In the agreement reached on Friday, the outstanding element was the commitment to maintain the parliamentary pact, until at least the day that the verdicts are announced against the civil leaders and government figures sacked under 155. It is not, therefore, a firm accord right now for the four years of the legislature ― it has never been described as this ― but nor does it have a hypothetical expiry date, since nobody knows when the referendum trial will take place and even less so when the verdicts will be made public.

The uncertainty is, indeed, such that right now the possible trial dates move between the beginning of next year or even after the local elections next spring if the Pedro Sánchez government books up the first few months of 2019 with the campaign for a Spanish general election. Indeed, given that the trial itself will take a few months, between two and three, if elections keep on taking up the free gaps in the calendar, it could be possible, in the most stretched-out scenario of all, to have the verdict put back until the end of 2019 or early 2020. That is a long time in which to discard any possibility of a new crisis in Catalonia, given the distrust with which the two governing Catalan parties are regarding each other.

A final comment: from each of its crises, it has come out further weakened. Is this also the case now? It probably is, but as the parties also went into the crisis in a very weakened state, it is still to be confirmed that this won't be a point of inflection. Time will tell.

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