Members of Junts have said 'no' to continuing in the Catalan government of Pere Aragonès. After two days of voting, 55.73% of rank and file members of Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) answered negatively to the question: "Do you want Junts to continue being part of the current Government of Catalonia?", while 42.39% voted 'yes'. The decision, which effectively presses the self-dissolution button for the pro-independence Catalan government coalition, has been adopted with very high participation among the party's 6,465 members: 79.18% of eligible party members cast a vote. The electronic ballot boxes closed at 5pm this Friday after they had opened as 12 midnight passed on Wednesday night. The party executive is meeting at the moment to evaluate the results and agree on a response before appearing before the media.
This decision by the party members will not only affect the continuity of Junts in Catalonia's pro-independence coalition government, it will also have a major impact within the party which has not hidden the deep internal division that this debate has caused. The president, Laura Borràs, led a group of party leaders who took a clear position in favour of the 'no' or 'leave' option. For his part, the general secretary, Jordi Turull, after stating that he would make his position public, in the end chose not to do so, justifying his stand in the "neutrality" which the party's internal electoral commission advised. However, a group of Junts leaders close to Turull spoke in favour of continuing in the Catalan executive. Nor did the president-in-exile, and party founder, Carles Puigdemont take sides publicly, but the leaders closest to him did, campaigning in favour of no.
This result sends the internal map of the party into unknown territory. Borràs and Turull avoided measuring their respective strengths at the Junts congress held in June, where they agreed on a shared, consensus leadership. On the other hand, this vote has finally made clear the balance between the sectors represented by the president and the general secretary. Now it remains to be seen what translation this will have in the political future. Turull assured the press conference at which he announced the question last week that the result would not cause a split in the party. However, other leaders, such as Jaume Alonso Cuevillas, related to Borràs, have stated in recent days that the result may lead to a rupture in Junts.
As Junts decides its future as a party, its 32 Catalan MPs will now have to decide what role they want to take in Parliament, where Junts is the third largest party in the 135-seat chamber, just behind its erstwhile coalition partner Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Catalan Socialists (PSC), which have 33 deputies each.
At the moment, the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès (ERC), is waiting at the Palau de la Generalitat to know the official response of Junts on their continuity in the government. The presidency department has assured that there will be no reaction until the executive of Borràs's party has spoken. In any case, Junts's departure will force Aragonès to remodel his government and to admit Republican ministers to assume the portfolios of Economy and Finance, Foreign Action and Participation, Justice, Social Rights, Health, Research and Universities, and Digital Policies and Territory.