The Catalan parliamentary debate on general policy that starts this Tuesday and will continue on Friday, with the passing of resolutions, will this year be highly focused on the health of Catalonia's coalition government, in which the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (Junts) are the protagonists of a constant battle for the narrative. A struggle that only they are capable of maintaining while the public, both pro-independence and no-independence, has been incorporating, when not actually substituting, much more urgent issues in the agenda, such as the economic crisis, the loss of purchasing power due to inflation and an energy bill that keeps rising and threatens broad groups of the public with a winter in which energy poverty - not being able to keep the house at an adequate temperature - which is now around 16%, may exceed 20%.
Very little is known [at the time of writing] about the content of president Pere Aragonès' speech and his commitment to present a broad proposal for self-determination in this debate. From the little that they have been explaining from ERC, it can be expected to be an initiative aiming to go beyond the pro-independence ranks to try to re-incorporate those who stand up for Catalonia's sovereign right to decide its future, without being pro-independence themselves. Formulated like this, it would be a kind of remake of 2014 under the presidency of Artur Mas. The music coming from the Republican headquarters in recent days is more focused on addressing what they consider to be the central space of the pro-independence and pro-sovereignty area than on meeting the demands of Junts, without being too concerned about the possibility of them leaving the government.
And here, we return to the struggle for the narrative. ERC is playing with an advantage: Junts's reasons for leaving the government are very internal. On the other hand, Junts has no chance that its discourse on the breaches in the two parties' investiture agreement - which certainly exist - will be seen as sufficient reason to leave the Catalan executive. And two other factors can be added: the breakup of a pro-independence Catalan government would have consequences for the future and this heavy burden would not be borne equally by the two parties. Secondly, leaving the government at such a difficult time for the public obviously reduces the capacity for your policies to be appreciated and seen as credible.
Coalition governments have advantages and disadvantages. The 52% of voters who favoured pro-independence parties and the independentist majority in Parliament - although this might be more theoretical than real - only leaves room for a coalition, even if it is out of responsibility. Whoever holds the presidency has the initiative and holds more power, and the other part of the government has to fight guerrilla battles to get the upper hand and make themselves visible. It has always been like this and you only have to look for references in history to see that. Here, too, there is the ability that one side or the other have to take advantage of their opportunities. To believe that taking political action is more possible from opposition than from government reflects great naivety or inexperience. Basically, from the opposition, what you do is make noise.