The letter from vice-president of Catalonia and president of ERC (Catalan Republican Left), Oriol Junqueras, to party members from Estremera prison, where he has been since 2nd November along with five other ministers, besides the two female ministers also deprived of liberty in Alcalá Meco, is an important political text and set the course for the party's strategy in the near future.
The message has five key points. The first, his replacement in the leadership of ERC. Junqueras indicates the party's secretary general, Marta Rovira, for a future which, in part, is already the present. She's been leading in day-to-day matters for some time but Junqueras' imprisonment now forces her to also be the visible face of the party. On this aspect, Junqueras doesn't want this to be merely provisional and, surely, the weight of the whole organisation will definitively rest on her shoulders from now on.
Second, Carles Puigdemont, although a member of a different party, is also ERC's candidate to the presidency of Catalonia as the legitimate holder of the office. Equally legitimate for them are the rest of the government who today are in Brussels or in prison. This doesn't irreversibly jump to a conclusion about whether, when the time comes, ERC will opt for Puigdemont or for Junqueras, the head of their electoral list, as president. What the letter does aim to do is shed light on the fact that although there are different electoral lists from the independence movement, they can all feel the current president as their own.
Third, the need to continue opening the party up and growing. ERC has made an important contribution in recent years and the surveys recognise this. Junqueras doesn't want the progress to stop at a time of significant transformation in the electoral candidacies. The Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) list Puigdemont is putting together wants this too and wants to attract civil talent from a very wide ideological spectrum. PSC (Socialists Party of Catalonia) has opened itself to the Christian Democratic family with Ramon Espadeler and Josep Duran i Lleida enthusiastic to appear with and support a party which is diametrically opposed ideologically, at least, that's what the two sides say, and which supported the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.
Fourth, the Republic. Catalonia is "a country which holds dear the idea of being a Republic". Foot off the accelerator. The work isn't finished and will have to be continued. With what timing? That's not specified but he insinuates that the work carried out on solid ground only reached the 1st October referendum. A Republic which, he says, has a woman's name, a wink at Rovira. Is he proposing her as a candidate for president? In the medium-term perhaps, currently I wouldn't say so. It would be different if neither Puigdemont nor Junqueras could be it, which isn't the case as they haven't lost their rights and won't lose them in preventive custody or in exile. That will only happen when there's a definite sentence.
Fifth, his incredible severity towards PSC. He ignores Ciudadanos (Citizens) and puts PSC on the same level as PP (Popular Party) in its attacks on Catalonia. And he denounces their support of the police violence against the civil population and in the face of the attacks carried out by the far right in Catalan cities. A change of direction from ERC which is starting to orientate future governments of Catalonia.