Oriol Junqueras, the president of ERC (Catalan Republican Left), has admitted in a letter to party members that the independence movement has made mistakes and shown weaknesses and urged them to correct this. He also says that president Carles Puigdemont and the ministers of the government are also ERC's candidates for the 21st December election, even if they appear on different electoral lists, and mentions Marta Rovira, his party's secretary general, as a future president of Catalonia: "It's time that a woman is at the head of this country".
Writing from Estremera prison, "with calm and time to think", Junqueras emphasises the role played by Rovira in the independence process, "few people like Marta Rovira, our secretary general, pulled as hard and did as much to clear the way", and calls on party members to have confidence in her. "She's won it like nobody. Always pushing forwards, solving difficulties and overcoming all types of obstacles. Without her, it wouldn't have been possible," he writes.
"It's not easy to be in prison, with everything that entails. The distance and confinement are difficult to manage. However, I don't worry about ERC because it couldn't be in better hands," says the vice-president.
ERC's leader analyses the political situation after the 1st October referendum and admits that, although Catalonia has now been put on the worldwide political agenda, "that's insufficient" and the work isn't finished.
"Certainly, errors have been made too. Yes. Naive, we believed that the [Spanish] state would never dare to apply these levels of repression. Or that the EU would not allow the PP [Popular Party] government, in the name of the unity of Spain, to tolerate so many attacks against the citizens and institutions of Catalonia", he admits, continuing on to warn that lessons must be learned from the errors once the independence movement has evaluated its strengths and weaknesses.
He also insists that they need to broaden the support for independence and maintain social cohesion. He urges to "weave agreements with those who, unhappily, equate the Republic and [article] 155". "As painful and incomprehensible their attitude seems to us at times. It doesn't matter. We have to keep our hand outstretched," he argues.
Junqueras warns that ERC cannot reject the 21st December election even though it was called by PP (Popular Party) who hasn't even committed to respecting the results. ERC's president calls the party's members to vote and win, saying that ERC's candidate in this election is also "the legitimate president, Carles Puigdemont, and the whole government, each and every one of the ministers".
"Our unequivocal response will be to guarantee that, after 21st December, PP and PSC (Socialists' Party of Catalonia) don't achieve their objective, that with our votes we refuse repression, validate our convictions and objectives and that the institutions that they wanted to destroy are even stronger and more legitimate," writes Junqueras.