JxCat and ERC have to sign a truce during the pandemic

Tensions between the two parties should be kept out of day-to-day management

The episodes of tension between JxCat and ERC are not new since the beginning of the legislature, to the point that President Torra gave it up and announced elections that will finally be held on February 14. Even so, insofar as the management of the pandemic, until now they had tried to keep their composure in public. That is why what happened this Wednesday is particularly serious, when vice-president Aragonès left the committee where the different departments are coordinating anti-covid measures in protest against the leak of the draft de-escalation plan that has to be approved today by Procicat. ERC accuse JxCat of the leak and claim it is part of the campaign of attrition against ERC in view of the elections. JxCat denies being responsible.

Finally, in the evening the situation was successfully brought under control and the committee met again to finish its work, since this Thursday the definitive version of the de-escalation plan needs to be approved after speaking also with the affected sectors. This chapter, however, shows that it is urgent that JxCat and ERC sign a truce and shield the management of the pandemic from the pre-electoral context. Mainly, because citizens do not deserve to be witnessing an image of disruption that ends up spoiling the work of many professionals who are giving their all for the fight against the pandemic to be a success. But they should also bear in mind that misgovernment ends up having a negative impact on the overall image of the independence movement.

If, as they themselves say, JxCat and ERC are condemned to understand each other and come to an agreement again after 14 February, it makes no sense that they should not be able to come to an agreement when the citizens need it most, which is now, in the middle of the second wave, and not in four or five months' time. Obviously, internal tensions are not exclusive to the Catalan government. We have also seen them in the Spanish government, between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, and especially in Madrid between Ayuso's PP and Ciudadanos. But this is no consolation nor excuse. A government has to function as a whole and in solidarity, respecting internal procedures and deliberative processes.

The executive must also know that wherever there are journalists there will always be leaks of information. This is not the problem. The problem is the mutual distrust between partners that turns every episode of tension into a crisis of government. Therefore, what is essential is that the two parties isolate the political and electoral combat from the day-to-day management.

The situation that has been experienced throughout the legislature shows that one of the challenges for the functioning of our institutions is its de-partisanship, or at least that there is a clearer border between the parties and their legitimate electoral interests and the public offices of the administration, which have to work for the whole population. In this sense, the coalition formed by JxCat and ERC has repeated the same mistakes as the left-wing coaltion in 2004-2010.

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