Oriol Junqueras is president of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and also its intellectual reference. Junqueras not only acts as leader in the party despite being in prison since 2017, he has also designed an ideological transition that has led ERC to occupy the presidency of the Generalitat for the first time in democracy. The success of the Republicans has gone through molding the independence party par excellence to a pragmatism that goes well with the exercise of power in Catalonia. An article published yesterday by Junqueras in the newspaper Ara and in La Sexta it is the culmination of this turn.
Junqueras was sentenced in October 2019 by the Supreme Court to thirteen years in prison for sedition and embezzlement, for organizing the illegal 1-O referendum and for the unilateral independence race. ERC’s reaction at that time was the latest insubordination coup that the party has had against the powers of the State: its leaders cheered the demonstrations that occupied the El Prat airport, the AP-7 motorway or French territory right on the border with La Jonquera. When the protests against the sentence had been leading to street violence for days, ERC began to hit the brakes.
Republicans have been moderating their speech since then, with one goal: to achieve independence it is necessary to have a very clear majority in favor. Junqueras made it explicit yesterday: “The conclusion is that we need to be more; an incontestable, plural and transversal majority ”. Catalan intellectuals and academics close to the Commons and the ERC, but also politicians such as the socialist minister Miquel Iceta, have weighed that a support of between 60% and 70% of the citizenry for pro-independence parties would be a difficult majority for the government to avoid. Condition.
Junqueras and his dolphin, Pere Aragonès, the new president of the Generalitat, have played in these years a kind of cinematographic role of good policeman and bad policeman. While Aragonès has been the calm voice of ERC, Junqueras has maintained a tense tone that, for example, repeatedly challenged Iceta to look him “in the eye”, because he considers that it is mainly because of the PSC who ended up in prison . However, the ERC leader has also wanted to reduce the tension and was seen talking briefly with the Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Function during the inauguration of Aragonès, on May 24.
Junqueras’ text made public yesterday is the confirmation of the script change in these years of post-independence process, and that coincides with the imminent approval of the pardons that will release the imprisoned pro-independence leaders. Junqueras has gone from rejecting the government’s pardon to accepting it, in addition to questioning the viability of retesting independence unilaterally, something that ERC’s electoral program still maintains as a legitimate option – as long as it has broad citizen support, according to the programmatic document.
This is a summary of what Junqueras had said until yesterday about the pardons to the inmates of the you process and on the unilateral path to independence:
“Back to good politics”
In the last session of the trial of the you process, on June 12, 2019, in his turn to last word, Junqueras said that “voting or defending the republic from a Parliament cannot constitute a crime.” And he added, addressing the judges: “Any politician makes mistakes, but I have always avoided that bad policy that denies dialogue, negotiation and agreement and that has transferred the responsibility of passing judgment to you. The best thing for all would be to return the question to the field of politics, of good politics ”.
“Wherever it fits”
On October 22, 2019, a week after being sentenced for sedition and embezzlement of public funds to 13 years in prison, the ERC leader gave an interview to Digital was born. He said that he considered it necessary to “assume” imprisonment, since “prison is also a way to plant a seed, an opportunity to explain this conflict to the world.” And he settled: “The pardon can be put where it fits.”
“We will do it again”
In November 2019, Junqueras gave his team this tweet: “We voted on 9-N, 2014. We voted on 1-O, 2017. We will do it again as many times as necessary. We will vote and definitively win the fair and free Catalan republic ”. That same month, in a video from prison, the former vice president said he was “deeply proud to be in jail for having put the ballot boxes,” and added: “I would do it again. I know we will do it again, actually. “
“It was well done”
In January 2020, in EL PAÍS, when asked if “he would do it again”, the former vice president of the Generalitat replied: “Yes. From the strictest democratic principles, what we did in autumn 2017 was well done ”. And he added: “We did it to be able to do it again.”
“I will never quit”
In January of this year, the ERC leader gave an interview to The confidential. “Have you renounced unilateral independence?” Asked the journalist. Junqueras replied: “Never. We will never rule out any peaceful and democratic option that will lead us to achieve independence ”.