In May 2023, Spaniards will be able to vote in the municipal elections. Until then, the internal war in the parties and between some formations and others will focus on the signing of the candidates. In Catalonia, the great battle is already being waged in the ranks of what was CiU in its day and still bears the seal of the PDECat, led until a few weeks ago by Àngels Chacón. From Junts, an electoral platform, first, organized around Carles Puigdemont and with the structure of the PDECat, and a radical independentist political party registered and under construction, now, they have set themselves the goal of annulling the reinvention of nationalism under the acronym of Centrem.
municipal elections. At stake, the 947 Catalan mayors; and the county positions and in the four councils, an enormous number of advisers and the control of the public budgets linked to the local world. For those of Puigdemont, it is about adding a brand, even if the local candidacies are not part of its organic structure, with a double purpose: that the competition does not grow (Downtown) and gain local influence. For the PDECat, however, Junts’ contacts with its mayors are intolerable pressures and tricks far removed from a democratic system. The war is total.
A third “is already lost”
Chacón, who aspires to inherit in Centrem the municipal thrust of the PDECat (about 170 mayors), describes the recruitment of mayors by Junts as a “threat” strategy. Despite everything, the struggle between the two formations is not new. The judicial litigation is pending for the legal brand of Junts, registered (in 2018) by militants of the PDECat after the regional elections of 2017 and ‘stolen’ by Junts (in 2020). Since October 2020, when the PDECat, then chaired by David Bonvehí, decided to go to the 2021 regional elections alone, Junts turned to harassment and demolition without quarter. According to unofficial calculations by the PDECat leadership, a third of its mayors “will follow Chacón, after enduring the pressure.” Another third “is already lost” and “we don’t know what the rest will do.”
Sources consulted by ABC who know first-hand the pressures on mayors point to Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull like the ideologues of this stratagem. The secretary general and the vice president of Junts, respectively, both convicted of sedition in the ‘procés’ case by the Supreme Court, also maintain an internal struggle to control the party, since Puigdemont has been dedicated to the Consell per la República since Belgium and is not in the business of watering a game that you cannot control in the first person.
For Sànchez, as he himself acknowledged in an interview for Catalunya Ràdio, Junts management has been contacting PDECat mayors for some time, but denied that their offer consisted of pressure. They are conversations, he came to say. «What there is, and in the coming weeks there will be more, is listening to everyone and opening doors. Our political project is still under construction. In a short time there will be many more”, he specified. Junts number two sent a message to Chacón: “Let him explain what pressure is. Pressure? To nobody. Speak? With everybody. Many people do not understand that at the moment the capital of the PDECat is undergoing an umpteenth transformation».
Whether talking or pressure, the truth is that the contacts exist and from the PDECat they take some signings for granted. Thus, the Barcelona mayors of Igualada (Marc Castells) and Martorell (Xavier Fonollosa), the Girona residents of Puigcerdá (Albert Piñeira) and Lloret (Jaume Dulsat) and the Tarragona mayor of Reus (Carles Pellicer) consider themselves lost in the formation that counts , still, with the support of Arthur More. There are five important squares whose mayors, being militants of the PDECat, would have decided to abandon the ship of Centerm and go over to Junts.
They are sincere conversations
This newspaper contacted the five mayors and only Dulsat responded to the questions. The mayor of Lloret denies the pressure from Junts and confirms that this party will present a municipal list in his municipality. “The divisions lead us to atomization, so I work to go on a united list”, he pointed out, and added about the pressures: «What for someone is a pressure for another is a sincere conversation. Personally, no one has pressured me.”
Chacón, for his part, did specify the pressures that Junts would be carrying out through a “strategy” consisting of “Threaten” the councilors by presenting lists of Junts in their municipalities to prevent them from repeating their mandate, telling them that if they accept their proposal – to lead the list of Junts with people from the party – they will have “positions in the county councils and the councils” that Centerm will not be able to offer and promise them that, if they submit to their objectives, they will not have to go through a primary process to be the head of the list in 2023. Sources from the PDECat added to this newspaper that, in addition, in some cases they are “threatened” with references to relatives of the mayors who work for the administrations regional or local, but without specifying names or locations because “nobody wants to show their faces”.
Despite the promises made by Junts to sign the mayors, the party’s regulations Puigdemont -approved a few days ago- includes the primary process -also for “sympathizers”-, so, in the end, the PDECat mayors could be left out as candidates, since the Junts militancy is, as a general rule, reluctant the leaders of the PDECat, since they consider them ‘soft’ with respect to independence and ‘botiflers’.