Exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has today launched an initiative to convert his electoral list Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) - Together for Catalonia, in English - into a fully-fledged political party of its own. Under Puigdemont's leadership, JxCat was the most-voted candidature in the victorious pro-independence block in last December's Catalan elections.
The Catalan president announced the proposition in an event in the Catalan town of Vilafranca del Penedès, in the presence of 135 members of the JxCat candidature from all parts of Catalonia, saying that "there is a lot of hope deposited in the evolution of JxCat". "It is not only a parliamentary group or an electoral candidature for a specific moment. It will soon have to become formally articulated. Unity and generosity", he added, implying that the time has come to begin preparing for next year's municipal elections as well as adopting a more solid structure.
According to Puigdemont, "in spite of the difficulties and turbulences", JxCat has started to construct a "transversal, socially diverse political movement", based on service to the public "to make possible a republic committed to the highest human values". He emphasised that for this reason JxCat will be a "long term" instrument, which will lead by example as an expression of the "new politics".
At the Catalan election on December 21st, JxCat greatly exceeded the results which opinion polls predicted for the party which forms much of its base, the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT). The PDeCAT had been expected to win about 11 seats when it was considering contesting the election on its own. Under the leadership of Puigdemont, and with a more transversal and renewed approach, JxCat obtained 34 deputies.
Leading mayors of the PDeCAT have asked Puigdemont that the same concept of candidature should be applied in municipal elections, with brands such as Together for Barcelona, Together for Tarragona, as well as for other localities, and furthermore with a renewed approach.
Puigdemont envisages that the PDeCat and other groups will be able to integrate into the new JxCat political formation, as they did in the electoral list for the Catalan parliament.