Esquerra does not play it in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Esquerra plays it in cities like Lleida or Tarragona. In both, the Republicans govern thanks to alliances, among others, with Junts. Losing any of these two provincial capitals would be a setback for those of Oriol Junqueras, also taking into account that the mayor's office in Girona is closer to impossible , and that according to the polls, the results of Ernest Maragall in Barcelona will be far from those that allowed him to reach the first position in 2019. Returning to govern in Lleida -with 141,000 inhabitants- and consolidating is essential for ERC. “It is the main republican city in the country”, has acknowledged the deputy general secretary, Marta Vilalta. Lleida is a banner of the leadership of the Republicans of the 2019 elections who do not want to let it be taken from them.
ERC's opponent in Lleida is not Junts. The Republicans lead the City Council with a good rapport with the post-convergents. Here, until today, JxCat is a partner. There is nothing more convenient than getting along with each other if you want to annul the PSC, which is why this Monday Oriol Junqueras has left the red target hanging on the spike for longer than the blue one.
In this way, the president of the Republicans has made the PSOE ugly by his management at the head of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation (CHE), which for a few weeks has closed the Canal d'Urgell, which irrigates some 70,000 hectares of land in Lleida, and his management of Rodalies. A management that the deputy general secretary of ERC, Marta Vilalta, has described as "catastrophic".
"Lleida built its future with the Canal d'Urgell and the railway network," Junqueras pointed out. “Today we have a political option that has decided to deny us these tools; the PSC has decided that the trains will not work and not manage the Canal d'Urgell”, he added. The Minister of Foreign Action, Meritxell Serret, criticized the PSOE and the PSC for the "lack of anticipation" to alleviate the drought and for solutions to prevent the tap from being turned off on said channel.
In fact, the ERC leader has regretted that, as he has said, the PSOE government is not willing to modernize the Canal d'Urgell. The Government offered Moncloa a plan of 1,400 million euros to do so, of which it is willing to cover 60% of the investment. He has also criticized the conditions of the railway line between Lleida and Cervera.
Vilalta has also targeted mainly the PSC. He has said of Salvador Illa's party that he has lost "everything he had as a Catalanist and socialist." "But now it is also trying to eat everything that Ciudadanos represents, which is why it is leaning more and more to the right and Spanishism," added the leader while warning that "handing over the city council to the PSC would be like handing them over directly to Madrid" .
Thus, the Republican Miquel Pueyo won four years ago with a difference of 81 votes compared to the PSC, which from 1979-2019 has directed the Consistory with a brief convergent hiatus of two years. He has ruled the city since 2019 with the help of Junts and the commons. He has done it with some stumbles and instability. "It has been a complex mandate," acknowledged the paer en cap, Miquel Pueyo. "At times it has been very, very, very difficult," admitted Jordina Freixanet, number two on the ERC candidacy in Lleida. Pueyo threw Comú de Lleida out of the government and in December 2021 he did not overcome a matter of trust. However, the opposition's lack of agreement to offer an alternative to take over the Paeria within a month allowed Pueyo to continue in office, even with the 2023 budgets approved... with the external support of the commons.
"Our hand does not tremble when it comes to applying corrective measures when whoever governs does not do so in an honest and exemplary manner," said Freixanet in relation to the cessation of the commons a couple of years ago. "In the Paeria and in the Generalitat", he added to highlight this determination also with the dismissal of Jordi Puigneró by Pere Aragonès at the end of September last year.
Pueyo has expressed his willingness to repeat in the mayor's office to demonstrate that the 2019 victory was not "an anecdote" and his government "a failed experiment." “I feel excited and committed to keeping the door open for change in the city. The story that we began to write in 2019 must continue in 2023 ”, he has concluded.