The parties agree on a joint executive with seven Esquerra and seven Junts ministries, which will work towards economic recovery, amnesty and self-determination.
“We have an understanding. We have an agreement to materialize a new republican administration.” That is how the current Vice-President of Catalonia’s Generalitat Government, Pere Aragonès, announced the preliminary government with Junts to govern together in coalition as a result of the Catalan elections of 14 February. After many weeks of negotiations, the parties have managed to overcome the strategic obstacles that separated them and have come to an agreement to make Pere Aragonès the President of the new Generalitat government and to build a “strong, cohesive administration with renewed energy in order to face the great challenges faced by our country.”
In the Catalan elections of 14 February, Esquerra Republicana won one more seat than Junts, with 33 and 32 respectively. The two pro-independence parties have been governing Catalonia’s Generalitat jointly since 2016.
Esquerra and Junts thus firmly begin a new stage on the path to independence and progress, maintaining the prior agreement between Esquerra and alternative-left CUP intact, “to be respected and strengthened.” The priorities of the Aragonès government are “clear and unequivocal”: to transform the economy and ensure a progressive path out of the crisis; to vindicate the 52% of the electorate who voted independence on the 14 February; and to win amnesty and self-determination. Specifically, it sets four revolutions that cannot be forestalled: the social, the feminist, the green and the democratic transformations.
Regarding the strategy before the Spanish government and Congress, Mr Aragonès explained that with this accord “we entreat each other to take a firm commitment for dialogue and political negotiation in order to resolve the political conflict by means of an amnesty and self-determination, while defending the need for civil and peaceful confrontation in order to compel the state to accept this reality, which it has hitherto denied.”
The make up of the new government
Mr Aragonès assured that the new government will be “a new organization, adapting to the country as it is today and to the challenges we have as a society,” and detailed the following make up:
- Department of the Presidency (to Esquerra) will have a cross-ministerial purview and will be key in coordinating the departments. It will also have competencies in local affairs, sports and institutional relations, the administration and the civil service. It will include the Basic Income Office.
- Department of Economics and Finance (to Junts) will play a key role in managing economic and budgetary resources, now that greater efforts are needed, and will implement an expansive economic policy.
- Department of Feminism and Equality (Esquerra) is a new department with clear political substance. “We need a feminist transformation of public policy, in the commitment by the government and by society as a whole,” said Mr Aragonès.
- Department of Health (Junts) will have to continue to fight Covid-19 and strengthen the public health system, now and in the post-pandemic future.
- Department of Education (Esquerra) “This must let the up-and-coming generations attain the necessary preparation and reduce inequalities in order to guarantee them the best possible future,” explained Mr Aragonès.
- Department of Digital Policy, Infrastructure and the Urban Agenda (Junts) will seek to modernize and enhance efficiency and agility of the government, and will include mobility and housing, “a major challenge to guarantee rights.”
- Department of Enterprise and Labour (Esquerra) will unite policies for business and competitiveness with those promoting work and employment.
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Transparency (Junts). The government will continue to take on the global challenges and make Catalonia’s voice heard in the world. It includes foreign relations and cooperation policies, as well as transparency and open data policies.
- Department of Climate Action, Agriculture and Food (Esquerra). The climate emergency, a key issue, merges with the existing Ministry of Agriculture. “Among the most determined endeavours by this government will be the policies for the Environment and Sustainability, Energy, Waste and Water management, alongside the current department of Agriculture,” said Mr Aragonès.
- Department of Research and Universities (Junts). The government is clearly committed to the recovery of this purview, of the Knowledge Society and to being an ever more pioneering country in the field of Research.
- Departments of the Interior (Esquerra), Justice (Junts) and Culture (Esquerra) will maintain their current functions.
- Department of Social Rights (Junts) will include the areas of Social Affairs, caring for the welfare of children, adolescents and youth, and will fight against inequalities and guarantee the rights of all.
The government will thus have seven ministers proposed by Esquerra and seven by Junts, presided by Esquerra’s presidential candidate, who will appoint the Government Spokesperson, and a Vice-President to be appointed by prior agreement from among the ministers proposed by Junts. Mr Aragonès has also assured that it will be a 100% gender parity government.
“Let us get to work without delay, with all our energy. Let us engage the economic and social recovery. Let us get to work so that the broad majority defending the Catalan Republic can walk taller than ever,” concluded Mr Aragonès.