The electoral expectations in Junts for the municipal elections in May have little to do with the horizon that was visible in the autumn in the formation, after the departure of the Government of the Generalitat.
The effect of the candidacy of Xavier Trias in Barcelona – the convergent ex-mayor is leading several polls – and the direction he is taking in the formation has inspired the party cadres beyond the Catalan capital.
But the recovery of assets lost in the summer of 2020 in the divorce between PDECat and Waterloo is as or more important in this new state of mind. Some leaders who once came down from this battle, such as former president Artur Mas, have returned to the fore. And like him, relevant mayors who in this legislature have governed under the banner of PDECat and in May will do so in the Junts orbit, which has proposed a full-fledged oppa to their former travel companions.
Mas always asked for unity in the post-convergent space and did not join Carles Puigdemont's formation at first. But now he has presented some of the JxCat candidates and accompanied the general secretary, Jordi Turull, in several events, as happened last week in Avinyonet del Penedès or two weeks ago in Vilassar de Mar.
The formation of Turull and Laura Borràs has sealed agreements with some mayors who did not join the new party and remained in the PDECat pending events - the result of the last parliamentary elections -, in which the two post-convergence forces they faced the polls for the first time. Some of the most significant cases are that of Marc Castells (Igualada), Jordi Masquef (Figueres) and Xavier Fonollosa (Martorell). The mayor of Tortosa, Meritxell Roigé, or the mayor of Gandesa, Carles Luz, with whom negotiations are ongoing, could be added.
There are also pacts with municipal formations such as Impulsem Lleida and Impulsem Penedès, which bring together local leaders from the converging orbit who were left in no man's land in the divorce; and with other local brands in places such as Sant Pol de Mar or Bisbal d’Empordà.
After the collapse of the Government in October, it was feared that some of those local leaders who were undecided would approach Esquerra, which has tempted the terrain of PDECat's orbit in some cases. But the agreements signed in the first quarter of the year have removed this possibility.
And there is still another casuistry in the JxCat municipalist opa: the succession of PDECat veteran mayors who will not repeat candidacy with an orderly succession in which support falls on the Junts project, as is the case of Reus with Carles Pellicer, who has shown his support for Teresa Pallarés, or from Puigcerdà with Albert Piñeira and from Vilafranca del Penedès with Pere Regull.
Different formulas that, in short, have made it possible to partially recompose the atomized post-convergent space. "Recosir" is the word they repeat over and over to the JxCat management, which has focused all the party's efforts on this date with the ballot boxes. "Without municipal roots, you can't resist", says a leader, giving the example of Ciutadans' current situation.
Together, he launched a hostile bid against the PDECat at the time when Jordi Sànchez was secretary general, and has emerged strengthened from this process. One of the messages repeated in JxCat in the weeks following the 2021 elections was that they would have been ahead of ERC if they had counted on the more than 70,000 votes – or at least part of those votes – that Àngels Chacón got, now out of politics. The line marked by Sànchez, no coalition with the PDECat and specific agreements with the mayors who did not join Junts at the time, is the one maintained by Turull. In fact, David Saldoni has been in charge of municipal policy with the two leaders.
In that struggle, the PDECat has resisted in Mollerussa, with Marc Solsona as mayor – he is the deputy general secretary of the formation and one of its visible faces after the departure of Chacón –, in Lloret and in Gironella. And in Salou and Reus he will present a list headed by members of the municipal government.
The formula of the party chaired by David Bonvehí is to compete in a coalition with Ara Catalunya – a municipalist brand that has representation in some municipalities of Tarragona –, a pact to which Centrem has adhered, the formation that emerged from the understanding of PDECat , Convergents, Lliures and the Democratic League at the beginning of 2022, a project that has been in a hibernation phase after the resignation of Chacón in the summer.
Pacte Local has now prepared candidatures in more than 170 municipalities and aspires to do so in more than 250. In JxCat, on the other hand, they set themselves the goal of presenting more than 800 candidacies by May 28, and they already have more than 600.
The case of Barcelona is unique. Together, PDECat negotiates so that there are not two candidacies, so that Trias has no rival in the post-convergent space. The talks were supposed to end at the end of January or the beginning of February, but they are still open and various aspects are being addressed outside of the electoral list, which Joana Ortega, former vice-president of the Government with Mas, could join as an independent.