The Congress Table will take a seat this Thursday after a tight final sprint to decide its composition. The political parties have rushed the negotiations until the last minute to decide if it is Francina Armengol (PSOE) or Cuca Gamarra (PP) who takes control of the lower house. Esquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya have lengthened the uncertainty about their intentions to support the candidate of the progressive coalition or leave the track open to the PP pact with the extreme right. Esquerra advanced on Wednesday morning that he viewed Armengol’s candidacy with good eyes, but the party leadership announced at night that there had been no closed agreement and accused the PSOE of “recklessness” for taking ERC support for granted. Carles Puigdemont, for his part, gave an account of the stuck state of the talks with PSOE and Sumar so that Junts supports the progressive coalition. “We have no confidence in the Spanish political parties, all precaution is little and promises do not warm us up or cool us down.” The fleeing MEP in Belgium demands “verifiable facts before committing any vote.” He emphasizes that his position is applicable to the Board of the lower House and extends to “more important agreements, such as the investiture.”
Junts per Catalunya has scheduled a meeting of the executive for this Thursday at eight in the morning, just before the Table is voted on. The agenda gives little room to undertake in-depth debates and, despite the fact that the party’s spokespersons have been avoiding public statements for days, the party has slipped through unofficial channels that whoever wants the votes of its seven deputies is going to have to comply with an inflexible list of requirements The pro-independence formation defends that minor gestures are not worth it, and has screwed itself into a position that claims to redesign the relationship of Catalonia with the rest of Spain and judicial relief for those accused in cases related to the process.
With 24 hours to go before the composition of the Table is voted on, Puigdemont published a message on social networks, showing little interest in the proposals sent to him by the negotiators of the progressive coalition. “The cardinal points of our position have not changed, no matter how much pressure and last-minute races there are,” the former president wrote.
Puigdemont is skeptical about a possible rapprochement with the emissaries of the acting government and intones a speech full of epic overtones and reproaches: “The Spanish political and media system talks about blackmail, but it is an error that reveals the extent to which they are ignorant, be it out of disinterest or arrogance, the reality that has brought us here. It is the result of a deep mistrust, based on real events, which is not going to disappear through an agreement”.
As if trying to respond to the voices warning of the dangers that clearing the path to a government pact between the PP and the extreme right of Vox entails for Junts, Puigdemont reasons that the distrust of Junts “will not deepen” if it is not reach an agreement for the Board.
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For its part, Esquerra Republicana issued an unexpected ultimatum late on Wednesday. In the morning he had shown complicity with the PSOE proposal for Francina Armengol to preside over Congress. “Her name is better than others, she a priori has sensitivity to certain things,” said Republican deputy Francesc-Marc Álvaro. At nightfall, after a meeting of the party leadership, the Republicans warned that there was no agreement. “For days we had warned that it is foolhardy to take the ERC votes for granted.” The deal between the PSOE and the Republicans seemed mature, but the formation led by Oriol Junqueras argued that the conditions imposed to support the socialist candidate for the Table do not exist. The Republican party had lost negotiating notoriety in recent days, as the focus shifted towards the demands of Junts per Catalunya. Esquerra demands the use of Catalan in the Chamber, a commission of investigation into the Pegasus espionage and that the processing of an amnesty law, which was inadmissible in the last legislature, not be hindered.
From Junts per Catalunya they accuse Esquerra of wavering with his relationship with the PSOE. The deputy in Parliament Francesc de Dalmases, a trusted person of Laura Borràs, has accused the Republicans of “making a fool of themselves.” Dalmases wrote on Twitter: “Someone would have to explain to them that they cannot spend the day saying ‘We cannot not vote for Sánchez’ and at the same time affirm: ‘ERC votes are not guaranteed.” Within Junts, the sector closest to Borràs advocates blocking a rapprochement with the acting government. “We have to follow the path set by President Laura Borràs, when she voted no for Sánchez on two occasions,” Dalmases said, referring to the time when Laura Borràs was spokesperson for Junts in Congress.
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