Since Together for Catalonia (Junts) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) have accepted since the municipal elections that, in general, making deals with the Catalan Socialists (PSC) to govern municipal councils and provincial bodies is more advantageous than reaching agreements with each other, the pro-independence space is witnessing, with a mixture of astonishment and concern, an ongoing trickle of accords that is far removed from the optimistic narrative asserting that they would prioritize the pacts between the two parties. As always happens, criticisms break out and Junts blames ERC while ERC blames Junts. It's not pretty to have to dig into such a vindictive dispute, but it would surely be worse not to provide the reader with the best possible information.
So let's have a look at the largest pieces of the pie that are being cut up, which are, up till now, the provincial councils - the diputacións - of Tarragona and Lleida, and certain municipalities linked to this agreement, such as Reus and Tortosa, and, perhaps, some others that we will soon hear about. Both diputacións will be chaired by the Republicans - after an agreement, in the first case, with the PSC; the same in Lleida, although with the addition of a provincial deputy from the PDeCAT. Junts has been left out due to its own mistakes, since on the dates prior to May 28th, it had made considerable progress in making deals for Tarragona with the Socialists. What happened then? Very simple: the Junts leadership began to panic over the speed with which its local groups and intermediate officials were closing agreements with the Socialists and tried to slow down these pacts and explore the margin to reach agreements with ERC. Some say that the intention was a serious negotiation and others that they simply wanted to gain time.
The suspension of the talks with the PSC was carried out unilaterally, or at least without consensus, and the Socialists, fearing they would lose some strategic positions, including Reus, changed dance partners in order to stay on the floor and then made quite a general agreement with the Republicans. Thus, Junts first lost the diputació of Tarragona - where Joaquim Calatayud, MP and mayor of les Borges del Camp since 2007 was already a candidate to lead it - and then it was left out of the agreement in Reus between the PSC, ERC and the local Ara Reus candidacy. For the Socialists it was exactly the same to agree with ERC or Junts, since both have five councillors, so the dance-floor switch was relatively simple. As easy as closing the agreement with Junts if the leaders of this party had not suddenly trembled at the speed with which the agreements with the PSC were coming about.
From the agreement in the Tarragona provincial council, other consequences have emerged for Junts, many of them negative. In Tortosa, where the party lacked a single councillor for an absolute majority, the other parties have all reached agreement so that Junts's Meritxell Roigé won't continue in the position she has held since 2018. The same is true for the presidency of the diputación in Lleida, which was going to fall to the ex-minister Violant Cervera and now will be retained by the Republican Left. In short, at this point, mutual reproaches between ERC and Together for Catalonia over the municipal pacts are a sterile exercise. Each has gone into negotiations on their own to try to get as much power as possible, knowing that in the coming years they will be rivals rather than allies.
That said, each one is able to tell the story of what happened in terms that favour it most and try to convince their own people that it is their rival's fault. But the PSC, for whom it doesn't matter much one way or the other, has won most of the duels and among the big prizes only one has slipped through its fingers, that of Girona, where it came first on election night. Barcelona has dynamics of its own, because it is the capital of Catalonia and the dealing is led directly by Xavier Trias, who now knows that the investiture session of the city council will take place on Saturday after Vox climbed down from the appeals that it had been presenting to the electoral commission. At the time of writing, with less than 72 hours until this plenary session, none of the moves made by either Collboni or Colau to prevent the 2011-15 leader from once again taking possession of the mayoral staff have gained traction: not ERC, not PP, and not Vox.