Incoming Catalan president Quim Torra has announced the composition of his new government - and, confirming his declared intention, it includes the restoration to their posts of several jailed or exiled Catalan cabinet ministers, who had been deposed by the implementation of direct rule from Madrid in October last year. These ministers are Jordi Turull and Josep Rull - both being held in jail on remand - and Toni Comín and Lluís Puig, who are both in exile in Belgium. Another feature of the cabinet line-up announced this Saturday is the incorporation of former Catalan Socialist politician Ernest Maragall in the role of foreign minister. The Catalan government has announced that the new ministers will officially take up their posts next Wednesday in a ceremony at the seat of the government, the Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona.
The new vice president will be Pere Aragonès, who is also the senior representative of the second of the two major pro-independence parties, Catalan Republican Left (ERC). Meanwhile, Elsa Artadi plays a similar role on behalf of the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) group, and is to serve as enterprise minister and government spokesperson.
The ministerial nominations will come into force once they are published in the Catalan government gazette, which is still under the direct control of the central government in Madrid. On Friday, Spanish government spokesperson Íñigo Méndez de Vigo announced that Mariano Rajoy's executive would take action if Torra decided to restore the imprisoned ministers to their posts.
Nevertheless, following through with his previously announced intention, president Torra has returned Jordi Turull to his role as minister for the presidency and Josep Rull to the territorial ministry. They are both in the Madrid prison of Estremera. Similarly, the restoration of two of the ministers exiled in Brussels has been confirmed: Toni Comín in the health portfolio - confirmed at the last moment after earlier doubts - and Lluís Puig, returning to the ministerial role for culture.
On Saturday, President Torra also signed the decrees for the nominations and the structure of his cabinet, detailing the areas of competence of each of the ministries.
The members of the new Catalan government will be:
- Pere Aragonès i Garcia – Treasury and economics minister, and vice president of the government
- Jordi Turull i Negre – Minister for the presidency
- Ernest Maragall i Mira – Foreign minister, minister for institutional relationships and transparency
- Miquel Buch i Moya – Interior minister
- Josep Bargalló i Valls – Education minister
- Antoni Comín i Oliveres – Health minister
- Josep Rull i Andreu – Territory and sustainability minister
- Lluís Puig i Gordi – Culture minister
- Ester Capella i Farré – Justice minister
- Chakir El Homrani Lesfar – Employment, social affairs and families minister
- Elsa Artadi i Vila – Enterprise and knowledge minister, and government spokesperson
- Jordi Puigneró i Ferrer – Minister for digital policies and public administration
- Teresa Jordà i Roura – Minister of agriculture, fishing and food