Salvador Illa, president in maceration

Jackpot prize for the Jesuit leadership of Salvador Illa.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 04:21
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Salvador Illa, president in maceration

Jackpot prize for the Jesuit leadership of Salvador Illa. Neither a bad word nor a good deed, the popular candidate, Alejandro Fernández, says of him with mistaken malice. The man from Tarragona forgets that not raising his voice and not resorting to insults to rally has made the PSC leader a patient revolutionary. Illa is like ibuprofen, a generic that doesn't need colorful marketing so that hungover people will beg for it at the pharmacy when their head is about to explode. And this was the case of the Catalan testa after a decade of massive intake of symbolic ratafía.

Once the champion is congratulated, regardless of whether he ends up inaugurated or not, it is only fair to do the same with the greatly defeated and outgoing president, Pere Aragonès. His policies deserve separate judgment – ​​good, bad, average – but we must give him credit for having stopped the discredit that the institution that he still represents was sliding into when he came to office. The presidency begged for a minimum of know-how, and Aragonès has provided it. His goodbye was also up to par. Not by leaving, because he had no choice, but by executing his departure with the natural assumption of responsibilities in the first person and without a hint of the resentment that always accompanies those who walk, convinced that the world, who knows why, is indebted to him.

He contrasted Aragonès' attitude with that of Oriol Junqueras, who was more inclined to believe that the sun does not rise until he has breakfast. It has taken a millisecond for the Republican president – ​​in office since 2011 – to shake off responsibility for the triple disaster of ERC in the municipal, general and now regional elections. The ERC leader once defined his political project as “junquerism is love.” But now there was a risk, if he clung to the position, that the sentence would have to be completed as follows: “Junquerism is love towards oneself.” Finally, he seems to have made – although it is not yet definitive – the decision most consistent with the disaster of his party and will abandon his responsibilities. We must recognize ERC's speed and agility in taking note of what the polls have shouted at its leaders. The Junqueras-Rovira cycle has been a perfect capicúa: from the 21 deputies in 2012 to 20 in 2024. What this orange gave of itself is a juice already consumed.

Carles Puigdemont has done better, but not enough so that similar conclusions should not be drawn. Making the most of the personalist narrative of restitution, which has been necessary to assist with the massism and pujolism so long despised in Waterloo, the final result is 100,000 ballots and three more seats in their bag. A position clearly better than that of ERC to face the transition of the party and adapt it to the new political reality that has opened in Catalonia. But the junteros are also obliged to imagine themselves in the hands of new pilots to make their project credible. Puigdemont's messianism, added to the effort to recover the PDECat sectoral program that was spat in the face three years ago, has made it possible to save the basic furniture. One can be content with that when just a few months before he imagined himself completely destitute and now he observes with satisfaction how the house that the earthquake has completely destroyed is not his, but that of his Republican neighbor. But knowing that there is someone more needy than you doesn't make you rich, just less needy.

The investiture of Salvador Illa will need a very slow maceration. Europe and the Spanish political board, with the specter of general elections always in sight, are also part of the ingredients. But it is the only presidency of the Generalitat that is feasible with Sunday's results. The double whammy that Puigdemont intended to return to office without an absolute majority, an operation as legitimate as it was stubbornly Numantine, required as a first condition that ERC end up limping, not in a wheelchair. And secondly, that the race between Illa and Puigdemont was decided in favor of the former, but in a sprint and not with such a great distance involved.

We still don't know when and if we will have a president. But there is the certainty that it is in the interests of former president's office providers to prepare offers. You have to open two at once. There is no more buoyant market in Catalonia.