The pieces in the complex process of rearranging the political space led by Carles Puigdemont are beginning to fall into place. Puigdemont, the Catalan president in exile, now has a level of control over the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party and brand, whose electorial ticket he has led in recent elections. This has come about through Carles Valls Arnó, mayor of the small Catalan town of Balenyà, who is close to both Puigdemont and Crida leader Jordi Sànchez, who has now become new president of JxCat. After radio station Catalunya Informació reported this today, ElNacional.cat has now confirmed it through party sources.
This is all part of a reshuffling and rebranding process in Catalonia's pro-independence centre-right, once the preserve of Convergència Democràtica (CDC). JxCat has been the electoral brand of the post-CDC space since the 2017 parliamentary elections, and has also run in the subsequent Spanish, municipal and European elections. The lists have included members of the PDeCat (Catalan European Democratic Party) - the direct successor to CDC - as well as the Crida and several groups of independents close to Puigdemont.
The PDeCAT and the JxCat brand battle
The PDeCAT has up till now maintained that it owns the JxCat brand and had registered it as a party with the Spanish interior ministry. But in fact, this had been done by a JxCat member, Laia Canet, who at the time held the presidency. Canet has now transferred this to Carles Valls, according to sources consulted by this newspaper. Nevertheless, the PDeCAT told Europa Press that they have documents indicating that the name change operation cannot be carried out in the political parties register and that they will take the actions they deem appropriate.
Consequently, the announcement made in the manifesto signed by Puigdemont, the Catalan political prisoners and several elected officials of JxCat, stating their intention to create a new organization to bring the Puigdemont and post-CDC spaces together is on course to become a tangible reality on July 25th. The JxCat party will thus take flight as a fully operational political party - whereas up till now, it has functioned in practice as only a brand for electoral candidatures.
The process of internal reorganization has so far met with the reluctance of the official leadership of the PDeCAT, led by David Bonvehí, which refuses to dissolve within JxCat and demands a formal pact, under which its members would hold 50% of party positions and places in electoral lists.
The Crida and the Left Independentists
After months of negotiations and faced with lack of agreement from the other parties, Puigdemont decided last week to move ahead anyway and forge a new party, and direct control of the existing JxCat label will facilitate this. Bonvehí and his political family could thus be facing an internal rupture of PDeCat as well as the break with JxCat, although a last-minute agreement to facilitate integration cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, the Crida (National Call for the Republic), a third party operating in the same centre-right space, led by Jordi Sànchez and Toni Morral, has convened an internal consultation with its members to dissolve into JxCat. Other pro-independence groups such as Left Independentists, led by Montblanc mayor and former ERC member Josep Andreu, have also expressed support for the creation of a single political organization led by Puigdemont.