This Wednesday will mark the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Spain's Second Republic, on April 14th, 1931. It will also be exactly two months since Catalonia's elections of February 14th. Nothing suggests that, in two days, the pro-independence parties will close an agreement that would allow the 1931 anniversary to be celebrated with the investiture of the 132nd president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The leaders of the Republican Left (ERC) are getting impatient. After more than 20 meetings with their main partners and rivals, Together for Catalonia (Junts), they "do not understand" why the negotiation is being prolonged and, with it, "the interim situation" of the government. "There is no reason to make people wait," complained ERC's Marta Vilalta.
The delegations of the two largest pro-independence parties have already addressed all the issues, from the strategy to be followed to move towards the Catalan Republic to the architecture of the new executive. And according to ERC, enough progress has been made to seal a pact imminently, because "every day that passes is a day lost". "We are in a hurry," they admit in the Republican headquarters, because resolving the crisis of the pandemic and starting the social rescue "is urgent" and requires a government with all its powers activated.
In line with what the centre-left party has been repeating for weeks, ERC says that "there is no hurdle that can veto an agreement now." In fact, from their point of view, there were none two weeks ago, when the two failed investiture votes took place. "We still don't know why it wasn't possible and we don't understand why it's not possible now."
Government with Junts compatible with the CUP
After a week during which there has been speculation about the possibility of Junts voting Aragonès as president but then remaining in opposition themselves, the Republicans used their weekly appearance to clarify that the priority is to share government with the Puigdemont-led party.
ERC is sure that the alliance is compatible with the document of accord they reached with the CUP, under which ERC has assured the favourable vote of the third pro-independence party's 9 seats. And Vilalta concluded: " A good agreement is perfectly compatible with a fast one."
Beyond the negotiating teams
Although both ERC and Junts have their "starting line-ups" that have taken to the negotiation field - Sabrià, Vilalta, Vilagrà and Jové for ERC and Artadi, Rius, Dalmases and Nogueras for Junts - the talks between the two parties are also being played out in other leagues.
At Lledoners prison, ERC president Oriol Junqueras and Junts general secretary Jordi Sànchez lead talks on the strategy to follow. At the same time, the president in waiting, Pere Aragonès, is aware of the minute-by-minute contacts of ERC with its government partners. While he has not yet played a protagonist role in any of the meetings held so far, the incumbent vice president could sit at the table with Junts in the coming days. He himself has shown his willingness to do so. As he explained on Saturday, over the last few weeks he has had conversations with all the actors involved, including Carles Puigdemont. However, ERC points out that in no case have such talks been formally requested by Junts.