The membership base of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) has closed ranks with its jailed leader Oriol Junqueras, who has been re-elected as the party's president with 88.34% of votes cast, in the election of the pro-independence party's new executive held this Sunday. Marta Rovira, who has been in Swiss exile since early 2018, has also been returned as general secretary with similar figures: 86.74% of voters supported her.
More than 9,000 ERC members were called to the polls this Sunday to choose the the party's new leadership team, which will be reinforced by the tandem formed by Pere Aragonès and Marta Vilalta, due to the difficulties created by the state's repression on Junqueras, Rovira and others. Aragonès, who received 82.99% of votes, will act as national coordinator, while Vilalta, who obtained 84.71% of the support of members, will be the new assistant secretary general.
The turnout of members was 57.14% - that is, 5,195 votes were cast. The percentage who voted was significantly higher than the party polls in 2011 (44.77%) and 2015 (32.92%), with electronic voting possible this year for the first time.
Compromís Republicà ("Republican Commitment"), the candidature headed by Junqueras and Rovira, received overwhelming support. However, the electoral system allowed votes to be withheld from individual members of of the list and blank votes cast, and the party's general secretary of internal coordination, Lluís Salvadó, was slightly punished by this, receiving 71.21% support. Salvadó has had disciplinary action taken against him after the leaking of a telephone conversation in which he made sexist comments.
Joan Tardà, most voted on the national council
In addition to the new executive, thirty members of the national council were also selected in the vote. Joan Tardà and Josep Maria Jové were the most voted, while Joan Puig, of the Primer d'Octubre group, a critical tendency within the party, was not elected.
Junqueras and Rovira are thus confirmed in the leadership of the party they took on in 2011, when its fortunes were flagging, after poor results in the 2010 Catalan election and 2011 municipal polls. A situation very different from that currently, when the party is experiencing one of the moments of greatest support in its 88-year history, and is currently close to being the dominant political force in the Catalan independence movement.
The state's repression against pro-independence politicians, however, has severely affected the party's leading duo, with Junqueras jailed and Rovira in exile, forcing the creation of new positions and the promotion of other leaderships, both within the internal party structure and with an eye to possible new Catalan elections, with it being likely that Junqueras will be banned from holding public office once the Supreme Court's sentence has been announced. Thus, Pere Aragonès and Marta Vilalta will be the two visible faces of the new generation taking shape within the party
This, then, will be the new party executive:
After today's vote, the ERC now moves towards a national council meeting on October 5th and a national congress in November, when the party's change of strategic direction - towards a more pragmatic line on the conflict with the Spanish state - will be put to the party base for approval.