Aragonès launches a fight against Puigdemont with the electoral date of May 12

The first half of 2024 adds a new electoral process in Spain: the Catalan regional elections, which will be held on May 12. More than 5.4 million Catalans are called to vote in an event that is expected to be more uncertain than ever after years of pro-independence government. Yesterday Pere Aragonès pressed the red button and thus launched a challenge to Junts since it leaves the post-convergents with practically no room to position Carles Puigdemont as an effective candidate.

In fact, Junts has set the date of May 12 as a pulse, according to the words of its leader Jordi Turull, who accuses Aragonès of making an “electoral calculation.” The truth is that the current president has taken the opportunity to advance the elections and try to nullify the “Puigdemont effect” because Junts were already rubbing their hands with Puigdemont's return to Catalonia in July thanks to the application of the amnesty. In fact, in the post-convergent ranks they have been talking almost openly that their candidate for the Catalan elections will be Puigdemont since they do not have winning alternatives right now either.

The amnesty is still being processed in the Cortes and there are still two months of process in the Senate, so it would not foreseeably be approved until June. And Aragonès has been able to take advantage of this to avoid having to face Puigdemont face to face, although Junts assume that they will have their leader as the head of the list and venture to say that he will be able to be present in the investiture debate because they foresee that It can be held in July (the elections are on May 12 and the Parliament takes almost a month to be formed), as long as the amnesty does not encounter more judicial obstacles in its application.

In any case, beyond the legal issues, which will greatly influence the coming weeks, there is the emotional issue: Junts already managed to win the December 2017 elections against all odds by appealing to the return of Puigdemont and now intends to repeat it. However, it is another diametrically different moment because the “procés” and the mobilization of the independence movement have declined. And it is also another moment because Junts no longer capitalizes on the unconditional supporters of the “procés” as it managed in 2017: now strong competitors have emerged, such as Aliança Catalana of the mayor of Ripoll Sílvia Orriols; or, the possible candidacy of the ANC (its bases have until tomorrow to vote and decide), which may have some critics of Junts, such as Clara Ponsatí.

The battle between ERC and Junts that is fiercer than ever after the breakup in the Government. But it also remains to be seen the battle between independentists and constitutionalists despite the fact that the polarization in Catalonia has decreased: it is, in fact, the moment in which those of the “no” to independence have the best chance of gaining an absolute majority in the Parliament. . In this sense, the parties that best reach the electoral event are PSC and PP, which came first and third in the July general elections (ERC and Junts came in fourth and fifth place). The Catalan socialists have Salvador Illa as the candidate with the best chance of being president and he has already launched himself into the campaign with a criticism of the maneuvers of Puigdemont and Aragonès: “Catalonia needs a president, not a candidate.” The popular Catalans will keep Alejandro Fernández as a candidate, a good speaker who has always lived on the wire due to his party's journey through the desert in the last decade in Catalonia: however, on this occasion, there are polls that place him close to twenty seats and could be decisive for the governability of the PSC.

Both PSC and PP have already agreed in Barcelona for Jaume Collboni's mayoralty and could be forced to reissue that pact at the regional level if the accounts come out. In the middle, we will have to see what strength Comunes, Ciudadanos or Vox have since, depending on the weight that each formation obtains, they can pave or demonize the possibilities of an agreement. And, with this, pay for the electoral repetition scenario.

In any case, the bloc dynamics have been fading in Catalonia and the prospect of a struggle between independence supporters and constitutionalists has been losing strength, although no one doubts that it is one of the fronts that will concentrate the most attention, beyond the classic ERC. -Together. In addition to the fight to capitalize on the amnesty or the self-determination referendum, the truth is that the “procés” has been losing steam to the detriment of other issues that could end up marking the electoral agenda: immigration stands out and a lot because Junts tries to raise the flag ; the “squatting” and insecurity, which the PP tries to lead; or, the economy, an issue that will gain weight due to the paralysis of Aragonès and the demands of the independentists for the proper management of taxes.