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A few minutes after Pere Aragonès announced his decision to call elections for May 12th, the leader of the Catalan opposition, Salvador Illa, celebrated this early election call in a press conference, asserting that it is good news for Catalonia, because "the sooner that Catalans vote, the better", arguing that Catalonia needs "a president, not a candidate". "Catalonia will decide and vote between moving forward and backward, between turning the page or going back to the past", affirmed the first secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and candidate for the Catalan parliamentary election called for May 12th, stressing that his party and he himself are ready to face this electoral battle. In fact, on the previous elections, on February 14th, 2021, Illa was already the most voted candidate, tying for 33 seats with the Republican Left (ERC), but a pact between the two main pro-independence parties - ERC and Together for Catalonia (Junts), which won 32 seats - placed Aragonès at the head of the Generalitat.

The PSC was the only party, along with non-affiliated MP Cristina Casol, that voted in favour of admitting the Catalan budget for processing this Wednesday in Parliament, insufficient support to push the accounts forward in the face of the 'no' from the alternative-left En Comú Podem (Comuns). Weeks ago, the PSC and the government reached an agreement on the budget, for which Illa assured that his party was responsible. Seeing the result of the votes in Parliament, however, the leader of the Catalan Socialists affirmed that the snap election of May 12th is good news.


Salvador Illa (PSC): "Catalonia needs a new budget, a new government, a strong government..."


A party congress and the Koldo case

The election called by Catalan president Aragonès catches the PSC at a point where it is about to hold its party congress - progammed for this weekend in Barcelona, to be attended by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and former PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. This congress will serve to ratify Illa as leader of the party, a reality that has not encountered any impediment till now, ready for the race to take the Generalitat - which now has its date set.

However, Illa's path may be affected by the opening up of the Koldo corruption case, since some reports have linked the Spanish ministry of health, which Illa led during the first months of the Covid pandemic, and the company at the centre of the scandal, which collected illegal commissions for the awarding of public contracts for mask purchases. This plot, which is named after Koldo García, advisor to the former Socialist transport minister, José Luis Ábalos, has shaken the Socialists' scenarios. However, Illa affirms that he has nothing to hide from his time as Minister of Health in 2020. "Things were done well," he argues.