The leader of Junts per Catalunya (Junts), Carles Puigdemont, has been accused of betrayal by the independence movement after his party agreed to support the PSOE in the formation of the Congress board, paving the way for a progressive majority led by Francina Armengol.
Puigdemont, who is exiled in Belgium and faces an arrest warrant in Spain for his role in the 2017 secession attempt, defended his decision as a pragmatic move to advance the Catalan cause and to prevent the PP and Vox from gaining control of the chamber. However, his critics have denounced him as a traitor who has sold out to the Spanish state and abandoned the unilateral path to independence.
The agreement between Junts and PSOE was reached at the last minute, after weeks of tense negotiations and mutual distrust. Junts demanded concrete actions from the PSOE to recognize the Catalan language as official in the European Union, to end the judicial repression of the pro-independence leaders, and to open a dialogue on the political future of Catalonia.
The PSOE offered to support a request by the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, to make Catalan an official language in the EU, as well as to promote a political solution within the framework of the constitution. Junts accepted these terms, but made clear that they were not linked to any future support for Pedro Sánchez’s investiture as prime minister.
The deal was announced by Junts’ secretary general, Jordi Turull. Turull said that Junts had acted with “responsibility” and “coherence” and that they had obtained “a fact, not a promise” from the PSOE. He also stressed that Junts was not renouncing its goal of independence and that it would continue to demand a referendum agreed with the Spanish government. The party’s spokesperson, Míriam Nogueras, echoed Turull’s words and said that Junts had shown “generosity” and “courage” by supporting a progressive coalition that could benefit Catalonia.
The pro-independence camp activists accused Puigdemont of betraying his own mandate and of giving up on the unilateral declaration of independence that he proclaimed in October 2017. They also questioned his legitimacy as president in exile and as leader of Junts, a party that was created after the split of his former coalition, Together for Catalonia (JxCat). They argued that Puigdemont had fallen into a trap set by the PSOE and that he had become an accomplice of a party that they consider responsible for the repression and imprisonment of the Catalan leaders.