The possibility of a tripartite in Catalonia, or some formula of understanding between ERC, PSC and the commons will mark the long pre-campaign until the Catalans. And it appears as a desired and feared option almost equally by some of those involved, who wait for the arithmetic resulting from the ballot box to gauge whether this route is feasible and there are rods to justify it.
Yesterday, clearly, the Secretary of Organization of the PSOE and Minister of Transport, Jose Luis Ábalos, shed light on what will be the approach of the socialists after the Catalan election night. If there is a possibility of avoiding a Govern between ERC and Junts, the Socialists will try to promote an alternative. The strong man of the PSOE in the Government assured in an interview in La Hora de la 1 that the objective must be “to introduce dialogue in the institutions in Catalonia” because “we must try to prevent unilateral actions that they put the whole of Catalan society on the precipice ”. The question was clear: if the socialists understood that some formula of understanding between the socialists, ERC and the commons was feasible, possible or desirable. Without necessarily having to be a shared government. And the minister’s response was also: “We will support any space for political dialogue that allows the situation in Catalonia to normalize.”
In the socialist ranks it has always been defended that it is ERC who has the most way to go back before reaching an agreement. The premise is that “a shared government is impossible,” reaffirmed yesterday a prominent socialist leader to consultations with this newspaper, and that there should not be room for “independence approaches” in the roadmap of a Government that should focus on “recovery economic, social agenda and self-government from dialogue. The economic reconstruction that the hangover of the pandemic will force pays the way for this discourse. Both the PSOE and the PSC see ERC “very far” from being able to open up to a path of these characteristics. But they consider that everything will depend on whether ERC manages to win the elections with an important advantage over Junts per Catalunya.
Both in ERC and in the PSC part of their cadres are aware that the path of an agreement to three appears as the only alternative arithmetic option to a Government of ERC and Junts. A more general feeling in the PSC than in ERC, but it is growing in both parties. But both formations navigate until the elections trying to remove that possibility, aware that it can weigh down the electoral growth that, according to all the polls, both will experience compared to 2017.
Socialists believe that, unlike three years ago, A new political time opens in which the message of “normalization” will permeate, and in which it will be effective to be equidistant between independentists and constitutionalists. It will be an attempt in which they will also be able to benefit from the paradigm shift in the PSOE. In 2017 adrift and today in La Moncloa, the tail winds that the sister party produced in Catalan socialism are different from then. However, it happens that it is now the PSC who attends this play with strategic caution.
Fears at the PSC
Within the PSC, the possibility of an understanding with Esquerra is viewed with resentment, but also as the only opportunity to put his theory of appeasement into practice and send the unilateralists from Junts to the opposition. The bad relationship between Miquel Iceta and Oriol Junqueras is knownalso the terrible memory that the socialists keep of the experience of the tripartite together with the republicans, whom they blame, due to immaturity and lack of loyalty, for that largely failed experience. These conditions, together with the impossibility of joining an executive in which its foreseeable majority party, ERC, would continue without renouncing independence, lead the PSC to rule out a new tripartite outright.
Another issue is the possibility of facilitating an agreement between the Republicans and the commons, whose main virtue for the PSC, in addition to a shift to the left, is the deactivation of Junts, and Carles Puigdemont, as destabilizing factors. In Catalan socialism, it is clear that Puigdemont’s party, actually a split from PDECat together with an amalgam of independents with increasing power, would end up dissolving into the opposition. If the strategy seems clear, so is the PSC’s refusal to make explicit that the political future in Catalonia can go through this change.
The word “tripartite” is taboo at a time when the PSC is determined to consolidate its growth from the recovery of the vote that eluded Ciudadanos in December 2017, and now, with an orange party in a waning phase and no the panic of the last elections, could return to what they consider their natural party, the PSC.
The fear of those from Iceta that this voter will see them, again, as a pro-independence parade also explains their anger at the gift of the PSOE to ERC in terms of language with the Celaá law, precisely when the PSC is beginning to carry out a timid rethinking your traditional support for language immersion. The same happens with a hypothetical pardon for the 1-0 prisoners before the February 14 elections, a nuclear bomb that would explode in Iceta’s hands.