Pere Aragonès, appointed 132nd President of Catalonia

The new president opens a new republican era for Catalonia’s Generalitat government, encouraging the country to raise its head again: “I will give my all to make it possible”

Pere Aragonès took office as the 132nd President of Catalonia’s Generalitat government yesterday, May 25. He did so in a modern ceremony full of symbolism. Upon arriving at the Generalitat accompanied by his family, Mr Aragonès lay a red carnation beside the Stolpersteine cobblestone set in the pavement before the government building in Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona, paying tribute to President Lluís Companys, the last republican president elected by the Catalan Parliament, arrested by the Gestapo and put before the firing squad by dictator Franco.

“I assume this responsibility bearing in mind the weight of history; bearing in mind the generations that have preceded us; but above all, I assume this responsibility with the will to project the country into the future,” said Mr Aragonés in his first speech as the president.

He does so in a “new republican era” for the Generalitat, which must serve to promote a prosperous, fair, green, feminist and fully free country. It is, said Mr Aragonés, “an unequivocal commitment to make the lives of each and every one of the citizens of Catalonia easier, kinder and happier; I will personally give my all to make it possible,” he said.

Just before taking office, Mr Aragonés spoke briefly with key public service workers who have been at the forefront in the fight against the Covid-19 virus for the past year and thanked them for their effort. And in this regard, he encouraged the country “to raise its head again, and open the new era with urgency, with no delay.”

“We need to clear the way, aware that whoever breaks ground usually gets most dirty; but it’s time to roll up our sleeves without fear of scraping our hands; it’s time to break our backs every day, to get over the potholes in the road and to broaden the way sufficiently for everyone to have room to progress,” said Mr Aragonès, with an eye on advancing social rights and strengthening the welfare state. “Progress that we all know must lead to a republic: the Catalan Republic,” he said from the Orange Tree Patio of the Generalitat Palace.

  Pere Aragonès, appointed 132nd President of Catalonia