"The tripartite is back". That was the reaction from Together for Catalonia (Junts) this Wednesday morning, when the Catalan budget deal between the pro-independence governing party the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Spanish unionist party of the Catalan Socialists (PSC) became known. This pact, according to Junts parliamentary leader Albert Batet means that Catalan president Pere Aragonès "has abandoned the pro-independence majority, he has abandoned the 52%". For Batet, the budget accord ERC and the PSC "marks a change of cycle in Catalan politics, a turning point", because it shows that "we are not going back to 2017, but to 2004".
In the Junts politician's press appearance, he stressed the contrast between 2021 and today: "Aragonès was voted as president with the votes of Junts and the CUP and has now ended up reaching agreement with the PSC and the Commons". "His investiture commitment was that, halfway through his term, the democratic assault on the state would begin. Now, a phase of pact with the state has begun," he criticized. Batet maintains that "the ERC leadership" has given priority "to making gestures with Socialists and Commons , to make gestures of an autonomous community, rather than with Junts to maintain the pro-independence majority". At Junts, they consider that the agreement "confirms" the "suspicions" they had: "The president has changed his centre of gravity, now, his bet is the tripartite" - that is, the three-way government of the same trio of political groupings which ruled Catalonia from 2004 to 2010. "The only alternative to this tripartite is Junts", he added.
A "perfectly acceptable" proposal
In the press conference, Albert Batet insisted that Junts had wanted to agree to the budget and the proof of this is that his party was "the first to deliver a detailed, realistic and fully acceptable proposal". "We made gestures of responsibility, just yesterday the general secretary Jordi Turull sent a letter to president Aragonès calling on him to return to the pro-independence majority", he said. In his demands, Batet regrets that the "top leadership" of ERC always said no to them, citing as examples the "call for unity in poltical action in Madrid, the request for transparency in their negotiations, and when we insisted on guarantees for compliance with the government investiture agreement". The president of the parliamentary group of the party highlighted that "in recent years, many efforts have been made to maintain the pro-independence majority, as presidents Mas, Puigdemont and Torra did, many personal sacrifices have been made". Instead, he asserts, "now the agreements with Madrid are a conditioning factor on Catalan politics".