Catalan vice president and Republican Left (ERC) party deputy leader, Pere Aragonès, says he's not closing the door on allowing Catalan Socialist (PSC) leader, Miquel Iceta, to be voted by the Catalan parliament as a Senator so that he can then become president of the Spanish Senate, but he has invited Iceta to make a "gesture" by visiting the pro-independence political prisoners in Soto del Real penetentiary. This Saturday at Soto del Real, Aragonès visited the ERC party leader and European election candidate, Oriol Junqueras, along with the party's senator-elect Raül Romeva.
At the gates of the Madrid jail, Aragonès reiterated that ERC will make a decision on the Iceta proposal "in the next few days", but he stressed that "it is clear we are not facing a normal substitution of one senator for another" but rather a procedure by which the leader of the Catalan Socialists will subsequently be designated as a candidate for the presidency of the Spanish Senate. The issue has arisen after this week's proposal by acting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez for PSC leader Iceta to become the new speaker of Spain's upper house. Iceta is not currently a Senator, so the plan can only come to fruition if the Catalan parliament's pro-independence majority agrees to vote Iceta into one of the Senator places which are at the disposal of the Catalan chamber.
Aragonès recalled that "we are not in a situation of political normality". "For me to be making these statements outside Soto del Real prison, visiting the senator who received most votes in Catalonia, shows that we are not in a situation of normality," he said, adding that "any step that is taken should be towards the resumption of normal politics, and the removal of politics from the courts."
Visit to the prisoners
The Catalan vice president invited Iceta to go to Soto del Real and the women's prison of Alcalá-Meco and visit the ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, and the rest of the prisoners. "Many political leaders, from practically all political forces, have visited the prisoners in Catalonia and Madrid, and obviously it would be a gesture to be borne in mind for Miquel Iceta to make such a visit," he said. However, according to Aragonès, this visit would not in itself be decisive for the vote to make Iceta a senator. "We are not setting a condition. Our position will be announced in the next few days," he said.