• Politics: The PSOE warns ERC: "Nobody is braver for breaking the rules"
  • Pacts: Pedro Sánchez assumes the ERC plan and ignores the Constitution
  • Immunity: Junqueras asks the Euro Chamber by letter to recognize its status as a MEP and its immunity

The competition between ERC and JxCat, between Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont for the leadership of the independence movement, once again has the governance of Spain in suspense. He did so earlier this year when the unexpected presentation of an amendment to the entire budget of the almost recently released Government of Pedro Sánchez frustrated the development of the legislature, of the open political cycle after the motion of censure, and precipitated the call of general elections on April 28.

At that time, the Government made a momentous miscalculation by assuming that ERC would not register a veto on its accounts and that the only risk is that JxCat did. To neutralize it, Moncloa had initiated an approach to the independentistas with the opening of a dialogue process - the mini-age between governments in Barcelona in December 2018 that culminated in the so-called Pedralbes Declaration - which, according to their analysis, would lead to ERC and JxCat to support budgets or, at least, not to boycott them.

But Junqueras blew up this forecast with a very early amendment to the totality that left the Executive speechless. The reason, according to the sources consulted, was the fear that they would choose to support Sánchez and JxCat, at the last minute, to opt for no, at a time when the trial against the leaders of the process also began in the Supreme Court . The fear of being accused of botiflers , of "traitors", so recurrent throughout the process .

That concern is practically the only obstacle that can now lead ERC to break the negotiations it has with the PSOE to abstain in the investiture of Sánchez and opt for no. The confrontation between JxCat and the Republicans is of such magnitude that the Government is practically inoperative.

Junqueras, according to different sources, is in favor of abstention. Otherwise, the conversations would not have begun. But whether they culminate or not will depend on whether they can neutralize Puigdemont. For that this week is key.

The final opinion of the European Justice

On Thursday, December 19, the decision of the EU Court of Justice on the parliamentary immunity of Junqueras is known. After the EU general counsel, against the rest of previous pronouncements, has argued that "the parliamentary mandate of the European deputies results only from the vote of the electors and cannot be subject to the subsequent fulfillment of any formality", the Final ruling of the CJEU may have direct consequences on ERC's willingness to abstain.

The Supreme Court did not allow Junqueras to leave prison to appear before the Central Electoral Board to give the promise or the oath to abide by the Constitution as an elected person to the European Parliament. This prevented him from formalizing his MEP status and enjoying the immunity of the position.

The trial was held as planned, but the TS sent a preliminary ruling to the CJEU, which is held this week. Meanwhile, the 13-year sentence of disqualification of the Republican leader is on hold and not even ERC dares to point out what direct, immediate consequences it would have for him if he were recognized.

But if that happens, if the court follows the criteria of the general lawyer, it could end up benefiting the procedural situation of Carles Puigdemont, who after his escape from Spain has not yet been put on trial and, where appropriate, convicted. Puigdemont would have the legal endorsement to be MEP and enjoy the immunity that allows him to move freely through Europe, without fear of being arrested, until the European Parliament resolved a request for supplication from the Supreme Court.

This possibility represents a threat to CKD. The option that the former president of the Generalitat can return promptly to Catalonia, to impose on his successor Quim Torra the date of the regional elections or that he may even be a candidate worries Republicans.

The role of Puigdemont and Catalonia

They are aware that Puigdemont will always make the decision that represents the most damage to ERC. And although some doubt whether the former president still maintains enough predicament to overcome them in new elections, they do believe that he will attack them from the moment they make public the abstention to the investiture of Sanchez.

The ERC leader, whom some people describe as "confusing" because of the lack of clarity that he sometimes exhibits in his statements, will never do anything that goes against his electoral interests in Catalonia. Therefore, there are doubts in the PSOE about its final position. They already trusted him in budgets and cheated on them. And the same thing happened in his day to Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, who thought that Junqueras would not skip the law to declare independence.

The sources consulted suggest that all the network of derivatives that the CJEU opinion can cause and, above all, the future of Puigdemont, is present in the negotiations with the PSOE. The dialogue table between governments, which requires ERC, does not seem to represent a problem. The Socialists look for the specific formula for this dialogue process and have considered that Congress approves the creation of a special commission for the Catalan political conflict between the Generalitat and the State.

The agreement is near, at the expense of the CJEU. Those of ERC seem to have understood that they cannot demand guarantees from the Government regarding judicial action, beyond the fact that Sanchez changes to the State's attorney general or that he does not present appeals to the Constitutional Court before the latest resolutions on the self-determination of the Parliament.

According to Carmen Calvo, there will be agreement

This Saturday, the acting Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, at the PSC congress that re-elected Miquel Iceta unanimously, assumed that there will be agreement to qualify as "honor" for the PSOE to be the one who "takes the steps" to channel the conflict Catalan.

If what the EU court resolves does not allow Puigdemont to become a MEP, ERC will abstain. This is the majority feeling in the directions of the two parties. Republicans are convinced that their commitment to dialogue has been endorsed in the last elections and they believe that their electoral support - they won in Barcelona in the municipalities, in some municipalities of the formerly known as the red belt and have a very homogeneous presence throughout Catalonia - It goes beyond independence and is also voted for its progressive and leftist project.

Sánchez, after the fiasco of the 10-N electoral strategy in which he relied on the campaign to capture a moderate vote, disenchanted above all with Citizens, has assumed that the political framework remains left and right. The rise of Vox also ratifies it.

In the socialist direction, and it is also the opinion of many people within the PSOE, they believe that Pablo Casado's PP will never refrain to facilitate a socialist government. Thus they justify that the only possible way was the pact with Podemos and the abstention of ERC. Although if the legislature manages to start - the PSOE sees an investiture feasible before the end of the Year, if the CJEU does not recognize the immunity of Junqueras - they hope to have an ally in Cs and that they end up voting some of their projects, especially social .

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • ERC
  • PSOE
  • Catalonia
  • Oriol Junqueras
  • Carles Puigdemont
  • Citizens
  • Quim Torra
  • Vox
  • Carmen Calvo
  • Pedro Sanchez

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PoliticsERC tries to drag Puigdemont to abstention in the investiture of Sánchez

PolicyThe PSOE adds JxCat to the negotiation