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The 'no' from the left-wing En Comú group to the Catalan budget, who stuck firm in their demand that the Pere Aragonès government say no to the planned Hard Rock gambling resort, has caused not only the budget bill to be thrown out of Parliament but also the calling of a snap election on May 12th by the president. As Aragonès announced the early election he accused the rest of the parliamentary parties of irresponsibility, words that infuriated Comuns leader Jessica Albiach, who was harshly critical of this attitude, accusing the Republican Left (ERC) politician of bending before the interests of the Catalan Socialists (PSC). "I remind the president that he is the one who had the obligation to obtain a majority, but what he does is centrifuge his responsibilities."

Overall, however, the Comuns leader - like the Socialist Salvador Illa as well - celebrated the calling of the early vote, asserting that this has been the "only coherent decision of Aragonès in the entire legislature." "He is at the head of a weak government, incapable of building majorities, without leadership and with a PSC that has been setting the agenda," Albiach reiterated. In recent weeks, the alternative left leader has publicly shown her willingness to lead the Comuns again in the next election, as she already did in 2021, obtaining 8 deputies. Question marks hover over the left-wing political space, however, due to the split across the Spanish state between those leftist parties allied with Sumar  - such as En Comú - and the former leader of the alternative left, Podemos, which has also opened the door to standing alone in Catalonia if relations between the two parties do not change. Furthermore, in 2021 the Comuns held the mayoralty of Barcelona, a situation that has now changed radically with Ada Colau demanding to join Jaume Collboni's Socialist executive in the Catalan capital.

The CUP sees Aragonès as irresponsible 

The radical-left pro-independence CUP, which a couple of weeks ago withdrew from budget negotiations after the Catalan government's pact with the PSC, has spoken out along the same lines as the Comuns, assessing that both the vote in Parliament and the calling of an early election are a "personal failure of Aragonès and a political failure of ERC", attributing it to his lack of a "political project and allowing himself to be dragged by the PSC". The CUP spokesperson, Xavier Pellicer, railed against the current president of the Generalitat for avoiding self-criticism and instead calling the elections and "blaming the rest" for a failure that according to the CUP belongs only to the ERC candidate in these elections. Not only does the CUP not have a candidate for May 12th, but this snap election catches them in the midst of a refoundation process that was to culminate in June.

What the Comuns wanted, the PSC didn't

The parliamentary session to vote on accepting or rejecting the draft Catalan budget, which started at 9 this Wednesday morning, seemed to offer no way out for the government, even before it began. Only the Socialists had committed their support to it, but the attempt to bring on board the Comuns - who had lent their votes to the last two Aragonès budgets - failed. The last offer presented to Jessica Albiach's party, which included studying a moratorium on macro-projects that consume more than 100 litres of water per person per day while the drought continues, was declined by the Comuns as not only "insufficient" but also irrelevant, since the measure did not include the planned Hard Rock gambling resort near Salou, the elephant in the room which marked the line taken by both parties and torpedoed an understanding.

Sources from the Comuns also explained that the government had been open to making changes on the tax regime of the resort, but at the same time, had been told that the PSC would not accept such changes, and that, therefore, this would not allow the budget to move forward either. In the end, after further controversy when the vote, due before lunch, was delayed until the afternoon, Parliament voted to throw out the draft budget by 68 votes (those of Junts, Vox, the CUP, the Comuns, Ciudadanos, the PP and the non-affiliated former Vox deputy Antonio Gallego) to the 67 votes who sought to take the budget bill forward (those of the PSC, ERC and the non-affiliated former Junts member Cristina Casol).