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Catalan political party Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) are working in Brussels to prepare coalition negotiations with the other major pro-independence group ERC after last Sunday's parliamentary elections. Carles Puigdemont and Laura Borràs, number one and two in the Junts candidature, have made a statement this Thursday emphasizing the importance of the pro-independence votes reaching above 51% of the total ballots cast on February 14th. "They consider that this result will favour the creation of a pro-independence government in the Generalitat that will implement this electoral mandate," added the press release, in a message clearly addressed at ERC ranks.

The leaders of Junts thus gave a first response to the movements by ERC, which put itself into the driving seat in negotiations by finishing with one more parliamentary seat on election night: ERC won 33, to the 32 of Junts. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Puigdemont's party has responded to ERC's initial gesture of speaking first with the CUP by doing the same thing themselves: this Thursday afternoon a Junts team has held an initial meeting with the CUP, the third-largest pro-independence party.  

Guidance from Waterloo

In the Junts statement, exiled president Carles Puigdemont made it clear that he will play a leading role in the talks and that the party's approach is being guided from Waterloo. The six-line text states that the head of the list (Puigdemont) and the presidential candidate (Borràs) have met to "make a thorough assessment of the election results and prepare the negotiation on the future government of the Generalitat."

The head of the ERC group in Spain's Congress of Deputies, Gabriel Rufián, made a call yesterday in the chamber for the CUP and the left-wing Comuns to reach an agreement with his party, but he did not include Junts in that message. In fact, he appealed to "those who thought they had won so much that they thought the country was theirs" to stop trying to "control the pace" of the government-building process.

These ERC moves have been interpreted from Junts as purely strategic, and sources in the party assured on Tuesday that such details will not influence them and they will be "hugely patient".

However, Puigdemont and Borràs have now sent a first message from Brussels before waiting for a specific proposal to arrive from ERC headquarters.

They did so just the day that major pro-independence group Catalan National Assembly called on the pro-independence parties to take full account of the fact that for the first time the 50% barrier had been beaten and to respond with "responsibility".

"The explicit vote for pro-independence candidates is 51.7%, once the foreign votes have been added to the total. We have far exceeded our goal. All doubts have been dispelled. Now the parties need to respond with responsibility." — Assemblea Nacional Catalana 

Main image: Carles Puigdemont and Laura Borràs in an archive image / ACN