The suspension of Borràs leaves the presidency of the Parliament in limbo

The suspension of Laura Borràs as president of the Parliament and deputy with the votes of the ERC, PSC and the CUP has led the institution to an unprecedented situation so far, which complicates the forecasts on the scenarios that open from now on.

His party, Junts per Catalunya, has already announced that will not propose any name to replace it by not sharing the decision, which leaves for now the functions of the presidency in the hands of the vice president, Alba Vergés, of ERC. All this triggers the umpteenth fire with the Govern partner, and although for the moment It is not on the table that Junts leaves the executive, some voices call for political consequences.

The suspension has been made effective through article 25.4 of the Chamber’s regulations, which stipulates that when a deputy is prosecuted for accusations of corruption, he must withdraw, and if he does not, the Table may force him. Finally, after Borràs’s repeated refusals to do so voluntarily, the movement was carried out at a meeting of the Table with the votes of all the parties –ERC, PSC and the CUP– except Junts.

The suspension has been precipitated less than 48 hours after the TSJC opened the oral trial against Borràs

The day before the chamber closed due to the summer strike, the Parliament was the scene of strong media expectation, a protest in support of Borràs, races and also reproaches in the corridors. The suspension has been precipitated less than 48 hours after this Tuesday the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) opened an oral trial against Borràs for prevarication and false documentation when he directed the Institution of Catalan Letters (ILC).

Borràs’s refusal until the last moment to step aside voluntarily to comply with the regulations has caused the image that ERC wanted to avoid, which was to see himself voting against the leader of the party with which they govern. Borràs has made some very harsh statements once suspended, in which has branded the independentistas as “accomplices” of the repression and dressing up as “hypocritical judges”.

Consequences in the Generalitat

In a subsequent statement, the party has launched accusations of “partisanship” for removing Borràs from office and has charged against what they consider a “Cainite dynamic” among the independentistas. According to various sources, at the meeting of the Board, from which Borràs was absent for not incurring a conflict of interest, the secretary of Junts Aurora Madaula has threatened political consequences. Although for now a block exit of the executive seems ruled out, there could be other movements.

Borràs’ environment has been flirting with the option of leaving the executive for a long time

For some time now, Junts has placed the Govern agreement in the spotlight. Borràs has held the presidency of Junts for two months, in tandem with the general secretary, Jordi Turull, and has repeatedly flirted with the option of leaving the executive. One of the conditions for accessing the joint management was precisely to initiate an audit to assess compliance with the investiture agreement.

In the political paper approved at the last congress, JxCat points out that “we will have to assess the degree to which it is being fulfilled the government agreement” and stipulates that it will submit to a vote of the bases the possibility of continuing or not in the Executive” or taking other types of initiatives appropriate to the situation”. Some local groups, such as the one in Igualada, have pressed after the suspension of Borras for vote in the short term the departure of the Government, although in congress it was rejected to do so in 2022.

Precisely, the objective of ERC was to comply with the regulation but to circumvent a new open confrontation between government partners, as has finally ended up happening. At a press conference after the suspension, the spokeswoman for the Republicans, Marta Vilalta, explained that until the last moment the party had tried to Borràs agreed to withdraw voluntarily: “It is a situation that could be avoided. We believed that the most responsible option was if the president herself activated the article,” he said.

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has defended the suspension of Borràs alleging that the Table has applied the regulation. “This is not a case of political repressionbut of alleged corruption”, he said. Regarding possible effects on the coalition, Aragonès has stated that none of the members of the Government has given him the option of resigning.

Before the suspension, the Parliament remains in an unprecedented interim situation Until now. According to the regulations, the functions will fall to the first vice president, who is currently the former minister Alba Vergés, from ERC. However, the Republicans insist that they maintain the commitment of the investiture agreement, which means that JxCat has the presidency of the institution. However, the party has confirmed that it will not make any proposals by not accepting the decision.

A possible agreement would be for the one who temporarily assumed the presidency to be the secretary of the Table, Aurora Madaula. Nevertheless, the formula is not clear by which this could materialize, since the regulation establishes that the functions pass only to the vice-presidency. But for now this is ruled out.

Internal division in Junts

Despite the party’s “seamless” support for Borràs expressed from the outside, the situation is also creating internal division within Junts. The party is made up of several sectors, mainly those headed, on the one hand, by Borràs herself, and on the other, by Turull. Until now, the general secretary has supported Borràs’s decision, but other voices from the leadership have expressed disagreement regarding the strategy of not stepping aside voluntarily.

Borràs’s aggressive discourse regarding the pro-independence parties also generates tensions in the party. In Junts they have lived together for a long time diverse perceptions on such important issues such as participation in the Government or relations with the State.

With little more than two years of life since its refoundation, the party faces a fundamental year until the municipal elections, in May 2023. Thus, a good part of the leaders consider that staying in positions of power is important to arrive with a strengthened position. It remains to be seen if the two souls will manage to reach joint positions or which will prevail.

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