In the end, Pere Aragonès will be able to pass the Generalitat’s budgets for 2022, although in the last minute, from a penalty and for the squad. But the tortuous path of approval has already revealed the weaknesses of his presidency.
The first is that the 74-seat pro-independence majority, which invested in it a few months ago, has already ceased to exist because in the most relevant vote of the year – that of the budgets – he has not been able to count on the nine deputies of the CUP. The ‘president’ said yesterday that the majority of the investiture is still alive, but the reality is that it has been blown up at the first attack. And not from the state, but from quite realistic accounts of the ‘Minister’ of Economy.
Aragonès may try to revive her, and perhaps he will succeed on occasion, but the reality is that, today, he governs in the minority And to avoid that the budgets were defeated from the outset, having only 65 seats, three less than the required absolute majority, it has had to resort to a pact at the last minute with the commons. It is, despite everything, a positive pact because, although with too much improvisation, Catalonia will have budgets, which is required both by the crisis caused by the coronavirus and to access European regeneration funds.
Furthermore, even though forced by the bell, Aragonès has in practice admitted that he cannot rule without some help from non-believers in independence. And the group of Jéssica Albiach, which in a way is the continuation -with mutation- of Joan Herrera’s ICV and even the old PSUC, has once again demonstrated pragmatism and knowing how to be – not always – above ideological borders.
But Aragonès’ mistake is to have wanted to build a majority of the independence legislature, excluding the other half of Catalonia and ignoring that the political partition of the country into two halves has not yielded positive results. That is why he had to resort to the CUP, whose existence highlights the shortcomings of Catalonia today, but which is a heteroclite protest coalition not fit to govern because what it wants is to attack the ‘system’, not lead a country.
The other weakness is that it has been shown again, for the second time in a very short time – the first was when it had to exclude JxCat from the negotiation with the State – that the pact between ERC and JxCat is due more to the interest in sharing the power – and the budget – of the Generalitat than for a coherent program for the future. That is why JxCat, grumpily swallowing the pact with the commons, insisted yesterday that the ‘president’ has failed in his obligation to maintain independence unity.
Aragonès has once again emphasized that he has the last word and that JxCat cannot break him, but it is worth wondering if, with so many divisions, it is possible to sail to an acceptable port. And eChaos reaches into the ERC itself because, as a result of the pact with the commons, its municipal group in Barcelona, which last week voted against the City Council’s accounts for 2022, will have to rectify.
Everything would have been easier, and the budget would have more support in society and more strength, if ERC had not rejected, in principle, the offer of the PSC with the argument that republicans and socialists “do not have the same country model”. But at a time of crisis and the lack of a parliamentary majority, it is strange that in a Catalonia that claims to be a pactist, its ‘president’ is not even willing to agree on the accounts of a year with someone who does not have “the same model of country”.