It's a No

Following last Sunday's inconclusive meeting of CUP delegates to decide whether to support Artur Mas as President of the Catalan Government, a second meeting has been held today, and the answer is No.

     

What might this mean? There are several possibilities.

The basic arithmetic in the 135 member parliament is this:

Junts pel Sí (CDC and ERC) ... 62
CUP ... 10
Catalunya Sí que es Pot (Podemos, Green and EUiA) ... 11
PSC ... 16
PP ... 11
Cs ... 11

• The first possibility is that Artur Mas gets support (or that there are abstentions) from an unexpected source. It would be impossible to imagine the three Spanish unionist parties doing anything but voting against Mas. But it is possible that either one or two CUP members could be ... err ... persuaded, or one or two from Catalunya Sí que es Pot.

But it's only a possibility. CUP's objections to Mas centre on him being too right wing, and CSQP would have exactly the same objections. So I doubt that this will happen.

• The second, and to me most obvious, possibility is for Artur Mas to stand down as a candidate for President, and for someone else to stand instead. As I said in this post several months ago, this could be a figurehead President, with actual power in the hands of, say, two or three vice-Presidents ... and Mas could be one of these.

In essence, this would not be very different from the proposal that Junts pel Sí have already made, namely "a collegiate presidency composed of a President of the government and three government commissions".

• The third possibility is for there to be fresh elections.

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This third option is the one that is generating most headlines, but I'd urge people to be wary of jumping to this conclusion for that reason. It's wishful thinking, because there is nothing the Spanish Unionist parties would want more than to get rid of the current pro-independence majority in the Catalan Parliament.

So the ball is in Junts pel Sí's court. They would have to be confident that new elections (probably in March) would result in another pro-independence majority. If they fail to get it, then Catalan independence will be put back by at least four or five years ... and who knows how the world will change in that time? But, on the other hand, if they do call it and win they might well get not only a majority of seats but a majority of the vote too.

As things stand, Catalunya is already on course for independence within about two years, with easily enough pro-independence MPs to carry all the necessary legislation through parliament. I don't see why they would want to put this at risk.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The BBC, like the good Unionist puppet it is, says: "Its rejection of Mr Mas means the Catalan parliament WILL BE dissolved on 10 January and elections called for March."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35217593

MH said...

Not just the BBC, but others too, 17:44. However I'm not saying new elections won't be called ... I'm only pointing out that this is one of three options.

Looking through the papers today, Mas is being bullish, and doesn't look as if he's going to stand down willingly. CUP have today said that if Junts pel Sí propose either Junqueras or Romeva as an alternative, they will supoort that candidate unanimously. I think Romeva is the best bet, because he is not a politician.

I have to say that I'm very impressed with the way CUP has handled itself. It has put an option that it found very hard to stomach to its membership and reached a democratic decision, and it seems that it is going to stick together as a group and abide by that decision. It would have been very easy to use the 50:50 split as a way of giving its deputies in the parliament a "free vote", Girona and El Maresme were two regions heavily in favour of accepting Mas, according to this report.

Anonymous said...

The head of CUP has just resigned.

http://www.catalannewsagency.com/politics/item/cup-leader-antonio-banos-quits

It paves the way for him to vote for Mas.

MH said...

No, it seems he has resigned as an MP, so he won't be able to vote for Mas, 18:24. There's a copy of his resignation letter here.

It looks like he is taking a very principled position, namely that because he's been elected as a CUP member he can't simply "cross the floor" to vote in the opposite way to what CUP has democratically decided. But what it means is that other disgruntled CUP members will not be able (morally) to do so either. A bit like Douglas Carswell.

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