Catalan government clings on after influential party withdraws from coalition

Barcelona, Spain, Oct 8 (EFE).- The regional government in Catalonia has been left clinging on to power after the hardline pro-independence Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party withdrew from the coalition.

The decision, which came Friday after 55.73% of JxCat members voted to quit the government, has left the regional president, Republican Catalan Left (ERC) leader Pere Aragonès, seeking support elsewhere in the local chamber.

Announcing the result of the vote, JxCat leader Laura Borràs said “Junts wins, Pere Aragonès loses.”

The ERC is now left with a 33-seat government in the 135-seat chamber as the 32 JxCat lawmakers shift to the opposition.

The joint-largest party in the chamber with 33 seats, the Socialist Party of Catalonia, a regional branch of the national party led by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, has already expressed its willingness to cooperate with Aragonès to pass the regional budget.

Collectively, the pro-independence ERC and JxCat took over 50% of the votes in last year’s regional elections but have been unable to agree on the route toward seceding from Spain.

Relations between the parties soured further in July when ERC helped remove Borràs as the parliamentary speaker.

Tensions boiled over when JxCat threatened a confidence vote against Aragonès. The regional president responded by sacking the vice president Jordi Puigneró, a member of JxCat.

JxCat advocates a more direct and confrontational approach to independence while the ERC leans more towards dialogue with Spanish authorities.

Speaking to reporters in Prague, Spanish PM Sánchez called for stability in the Catalan government.

Sánchez has advocated for a diplomatic approach to the Catalan independence movement in a marked shift away from his predecessor, the conservative Mariano Rajoy, whose government dissolved the Catalan parliament and imposed direct rule on the region following its unilateral declaration of independence in 2017.

Under Sánchez, the Spanish government pardoned nine Catalan politicians and activists jailed for their involvement in the referendums and independence declaration.

The former leader of JxCat and ex-regional president, Carles Puigdemont, remains in exile in Belgium following the 2017 independence declaration. EFE


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