The Pedro Sánchez government is at a crossroads and has to decide whether it will "throw itself into the arms of Ciudadanos" - and probably precipitate elections - or stick with its current majority. So said jailed Catalan pro-independence leader Oriol Junqueras, in an interview with RTVE that the news head of the Spanish state broadcaster saw fit to pull from airplay, after it had been scheduled to air yesterday morning, just as the Spanish parliament was about to debate the crucial extension to Spain's state of alarm.
The censorship of the interview, a decision by the current RTVE news head Enric Hernández, was later denounced by the state radio broadcaster's own Information Council. Finally, a day later, the oral transcript of the written interview with the jailed Junqueras was broadcast.
The former Catalan vice president was clear that Pedro Sánchez's action during the coronavirus crisis may affect the role of his party, ERC, as a necessary support for the Spanish coalition: "It is clear that Sánchez's PSOE must decide whether to throw itself into the arms of Ciudadanos or whether it wants to maintain the majority that allowed it to take office. It is obviously in their hands, but things cannot continue as they have up till now and decisions cannot continue to be imposed out of fear of Vox. " He said that "rampant nationalism" had influenced the decisions by the PSOE-Podemos government in the management of this pandemic. And he warned: "ERC only has an agreement with the PSOE based on a negotiating table between the Spanish and Catalan governments. If the dialogue with Catalonia is not resumed, the legislature will end."
Junqueras a Ràdio 4: "Pedro Sánchez ha d'escollir entre Ciutadans o ERC i la majoria de la investidura". És una entrevista de la nostra companya .@LauHerMas #InformatiusRàdio4 / .@junqueras .@sanchezcastejon .@Esquerra_ERC .@CiudadanosCs pic.twitter.com/TYMVhEXC8s— radio4_rne (@radio4_rne) May 7, 2020
Referring to the Catalan situation, Junqueras also spoke of the calling of elections: "Now it's time to save lives but at some point in the social reconstruction of this crisis, we will have to go to the polls," - an early election having been envisaged by Catalan president Quim Torra prior to the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. "Torra will have to call an election and it must not be the Supreme Court that ends up activating the electoral clock," said the ERC leader, in a reference to the court's pending consideration of president Torra's appeal against his 2019 conviction for disobedience.
Nevertheless, Junqueras believes that Torra, of the JxCat party, must announce a new Catalan election by agreement with its current government partner, ERC. In the interview, Junqeras also admits that in recent months he has not spoken to exiled president Carles Puigdemont and recalls that "communication from prison with those abroad is very difficult."