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Laura Borràs is to be the speaker of the new Parliament of Catalonia. Her party Together for Catalonia (Junts) ratified this evening that she would be the candidate to preside the chamber after agreement was reached with the Republican Left (ERC) and Popular Unity (CUP) this morning to guarantee a pro-independence majority in the Parliament's seven-member governing Bureau.

The Junts executive met this evening at 6pm to confirm that the party's choice is Borràs. During the negotiations with ERC and the CUP, Junts avoided specifying the name of its candidate, not wanting to anticipate the party's internal selection procedure.

Junts' commitment to placing Borràs as speaker of Parliament changes the distribution of roles within the party and puts the spotlight on Elsa Artadi as a key figure in the party within the new government. This internal Junts adjustment is likely to have been one of the topics of debate in the executive.

Agreement with ERC and CUP

With the opening session of the new Parliament to be held on Friday, agreement for the composition of the new Bureau was announced this morning. ERC confirmed that they would support Junts's proposal. For his part, CUP deputy Carles Riera made it clear that his group would not vote for Borràs due to her pending trial for alleged contractual fraud while she headed the Institution of Catalan Letters, but he will not let the presidency fall into the hands of the Catalan Socialists (PSC). "The result of our vote will guarantee a pro-independence majority [in the Bureau] and a pro-independence speaker of the house," Riera said.

When the new Bureau is constituted tomorrow, Borràs will have sufficient support with the votes of the 32 deputies of her group and the 33 of ERC to overcome the Socialist candidate, as long as the CUP does not vote against her appointment. Thus, Riera's words suggest a likely CUP abstention.

As for the remaining six positions on the Bureau - two deputy speakers and four secretaries - three will go to the independence parties. The first deputy speaker position - the number two figure in the Bureau - would be in the hands of ERC. Junts would also have the the first secretary, while ERC would cede the second secretary position to the CUP. With this distribution, the pro-independence groups would already have an absolute majority of the Bureau's seven seats guaranteed. 

The opposition Socialists, equal-largest party in the chamber with ERC, will have two of the seven seats on the Bureau. The party to fill the final place is still uncertain.

Blockade of Vox leaves Bureau place in the air 

The three pro-independence parties along with the Comuns and the Socialists today reached agreement on a "commitment to democracy, rights and diversity" in order to avoid normalizing the far-right discourse of Vox, the fourth largest party in the new Parliament, with 11 deputies.

In fact, among its accords is collective action to avoid the presence of the far right in parliamentary organs, such as the Bureau. This agreement means that the possession of the fourth secretariat on the Bureau, which would normally be occupied by the fourth largest party in Parliament, is still unclear. It could go to the pro-independence parties as well, unless the Comuns are able to ally with the other opposition parties - Socialists, Ciudadanos and PP - to claim the seat. If the left-wing group led by Jessica Albiach coordinates its votes with those of the right and the Socialists, they would take this undecided place on the Bureau. 


In the main image, the Junts candidate to be speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Laura Borràs / Sergi Alcàzar