The confusing array of parties on the centre-right of Catalan pro-independence politics may be about to become slightly simpler. The national council of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) has given the green light, with 85% voting in favour, to "transition" into the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party, led by Carles Puigdemont. In recent Catalan and Spanish elections, the PDeCAT has incorporated itself into JxCat candidatures.
However, in the process of deciding the PDeCAT's formal confluence into JxCat at its council meeting on Friday, a series of criticisms were made to the party's chairperson David Bonvehí, both for the way the process is being managed and for the lack of detail in the proposal itself.
At the meeting, the executive delivered a proposal to articulate the PDeCAT under the acronym of JxCat as "a single party" in which there would be "only one structure and one decision-making body". During debate, keynote speeches were made in support of the executive's plan, such as the forceful arguments made by the head of the JxCat group in the party, Albert Batet, a person very close to exiled Catalan president Puigdemont.
There was, however, criticism of the failure to specify neither how the planned process should be carried out, nor to make any mention of the dissolution of the party. At the end of a long discussion, which also included procedural objections to the decision process, some of those who were critical chose to leave the hall at the time of the vote. In the end, 182 votes were registered in favour, 28 abstentions and 2 votes against.
Bonvehí admitted in a speech that closed the meeting, open to the media, that there were "different formulas and nuances" on how the confluence with JxCat should take place, but he pledged to carry out this process "as quickly as possible" and "always in consultation with the national council".
He did not mention the dissolution of the party, but rather spoke up for its possible future role, insisting that "JxCat is a project that goes far beyond the Democratic Party, but also that JxCat can be understood without the PDeCAT".
Among those following the meeting in the front row were Catalan government ministers Meritxell Budó, Miquel Buch and Àngels Chacón. Former PDeCAT party president Marta Pascal was seated at the back.
Successor to Convergència
The Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), founded in 2016, is the direct successor to the centre-right pro-independence Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), which was re-branded under then-leader Artur Mas following CDC's corruption problems and its shift to an explicitly pro-independence policy. In the December 2017 Catalan elections, PDeCAT candidates were incorporated into the broader pro-independence ticket called Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and led by exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Subsequently, JxCat has become a full political party.