The president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès (ERC party), has dismissed his vice-president, the most senior Junts party representative in his coalition government, Jordi Puigneró, arguing loss of trust. This was the response that Aragonès activated as a way out of the serious crisis that saw the future of the Catalan pro-independence coalition hanging by a thread all day on Wednesday. The president dismissed Puigneró for failing to inform him of the decision of the parliamentary group of Junts to submit him to a question of parliamentary confidence.
"The dismissal of the vice president is a step that hurts me but is absolutely necessary because the institutions cannot be permanently in question," Aragonès explained. Regarding the continuation of the coalition government accord with Junts after this decision, he stated that "personally" he wants Junts to continue being part of the executive. "I consider that the work done in the last year is good and we make more progress together," he argued. The position of vice president will remain vacant until Junts proposes a replacement.
"I will not shy away from my responsibilities. The government of the Generalitat of Catalonia will carry on being able to fulfill the commitments that I adopted less than a year and a half ago, to govern for everyone, to govern for the whole of Catalonia", he affirmed.
The president made a media appearance in the Palau de la Generalitat's Gothic Gallery after an intense afternoon and evening of meetings to address the full scale of the government crisis opened late on Tuesday night by the call in Parliament, made by Albert Batet of Junts, for Aragonès to submit to a question of confidence if he does not comply with the legislature pact.
After this, Aragonès cancelled all his appointments for Wednesday and called an urgent cabinet meeting for 5pm. During the meeting, ministers were asked to speak one by one on whether they shared the request to submit to a vote of confidence. The ministers opted to comply with the coalition government agreement made in 2021 and acknowledged that they had been unaware of the proposal on the confidence issue. Only the vice-president, Jordi Puigneró, admitted that he had known the content of Albert Batet's speech. Aragonès criticized the lack of loyalty among his governing partners and gave the Junts ministers 48 hours to decide whether or not they want to continue in the Catalan government.
He later met with the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, in an encounter that continues for three hours, with some recesses in which the two politicians went out to exchange opinions with their teams and party colleagues. At the same time, the president of Junts per Catalunya, Laura Borràs, arrived at 10pm at the Palau - not to participate in the meeting with the president, but to meet with Puigneró, who also had an office at the government palace.
Aragonès began his media and television appearance with a few words of apology. He admitted that Catalonia is going through a very complicated period, which is creating difficulties for many businesses and is accentuating the problems in a concerning way and that the government's obligation is to accompany the public and allow them to feel secure, offering them the necessary confidence.
"Here it is clear that mistrust does not help this goal", he admitted.
Aragonès acknowledged that the "noise" has made the work of the government difficult, and he explained that Junts had opted to submit him to a confidence vote. He warned that society needs security and a cohesive government and that this is not compatible with a question of confidence that could place Catalonia in a state of interim authority in an autumn and winter that are shaping up to be difficult.