Will Feijóo also speak Catalan in private?

1-O has gone from being a coup to a childish act of a few.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 August 2023 Thursday 10:32
6 Reads
Will Feijóo also speak Catalan in private?

1-O has gone from being a coup to a childish act of a few. Esteban González Pons, deputy secretary general of the PP, drew a thick veil before the process on Wednesday to affirm that "Junts is a parliamentary group that, beyond the actions that four people, five, ten carried out, represents a party with a tradition and a legality that is not in doubt”. A similar courtship had not been seen since 27 years ago José María Aznar assured that in private, “in small circles” he speaks Catalan. The two events have one point in common: they needed the support of CiU (then) and Junts (today) to invest their candidate for the presidency of the government. The need sharpens forgetfulness.

The PP knocks on a door, that of Carles Puigdemont, which you should see varnished the same and in the same color as that of 1996. That year, José María Aznar and Jordi Pujol agreed for the popular to govern in Spain. It was the Majestic pact. There were important counterparts that the popular met in just two years.

The same acronym is not on this door. Junts is not Convergència, but it is an heiress. The entry into the negotiating fold of those of Jordi Turull and Laura Borràs – the agreement by the Congress Table is the first example – has made the PP open its eyes to try to get closer. A possible investiture of Alberto Núñez Feijóo depends, at least, on the abstention of Junts.

But Junts demands amnesty and the right to self-determination. With these ingredients, it is unlikely that Feijóo will compromise and repeat a Majestic pact. Neither by JxCat for less – it is one of the “155” parties – and no matter how much there are sectors in the formation that bet on returning to the peix al cove.

The PP can be based on the history of relations with CiU, CDC or PDECat. It can even point to similarities between 1996 and the present: the Popular Party made CiU pay the piper for its support of a PSOE that led to the GAL scandal or the Cesid (former CNI) wiretapping, but ended up complimenting Pujol after the elections; In the same way, the PP has demonized Junts and Esquerra for a decade for the process and today it caresses their backs.

Pujol's support had a reward. In 1999 he repeated the presidency of the Generalitat thanks to the PP. But Aznar's absolute majority in 2000 implied a distancing that still lasts today. However, the closest thing to a break as such did not occur until 2012, and within the framework of Catalan politics. In October 2006, Artur Mas signed before a notary public his commitment not to agree with Josep Piqué's PP after the Catalan elections on that Wednesday, November 1. The PP had already presented its unconstitutionality appeal against the Statute.

José Montilla, from the PSC, obtained the presidency of the Generalitat. In addition, the commitment had fine print: the scope was limited to Catalonia and it left the doors open for CiU to do what it considered in Madrid.

Be that as it may, the veto of the PP in Catalonia did not last long and in 2010 it broke with the notary. In 2011, Mas agreed on the budgets of the Generalitat for that same year and those for 2012 with Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, then president of the PP in Catalonia. The economic crisis gave the Government arguments to apply significant cuts in Sanitat.

History repeated itself in Congress. CiU approved Rajoy's cuts. Also a Moncloa decree for a labor reform in March 2012 that enshrined "dismissal without cause."

The break was rather gradual. At the end of 2012 CiU embraced sovereignty and Mas demanded a fiscal pact from Rajoy. He left empty-handed and the president called elections. His new Government depended on ERC, which demanded that CiU abandon relations with the PP. There were exceptions. The break did not quite take shape in the local world, for example. The convergent Xavier Trias, mayor of Barcelona from 2011 to 2015, reached agreements until last year with the leader of the PP in the city, Alberto Fernández Díaz, which attested to a city model that, by way of example, liquidated the suspension of hotel licenses in Ciutat Vella.

It is true that CiU opposed Rajoy's investiture in 2011, but it was not forceful. "We would have liked very much to abstain, but we had no other option," Josep Antoni Duran Lleida went on to say, who, although he was in the ranks of Unió, was the CiU spokesman in Congress. However, the PP alone had an absolute majority and did not need any support for the investiture.

Going further. In 2016, Convergència had already stopped going hand in hand with Unió, and in the middle of the process, the convergents facilitated the control of the Congress Table to the PP, chaired by Ana Pastor, with their abstention.

Until the irruption on Wednesday of González Pons, removing iron from the role of Junts in the process, the good words of the PP to the convergent world and to Catalanism in general had been forgotten. The last outburst of sympathy was in 2002, when Aznar tried to recite a poem by Gimferrer in Catalan: "And we don't even live by signs: from the sound of signs, not the life of the word, but the skin of the sound. The understanding of the world in the shadow of words". It was a disaster.