Pere Aragonès. / SUR

Ruling pro-independence coalition parties in Catalonia split after ten years

For now the ERC party will carry on with a minority government but observers say the break with Junts marks the end of the so-called 'procés'

SUR BARCELONA.

The brittle governing coalition of the two leading separatist parties in Catalonia finally snapped last Friday.

The ERC left-wing republican party was left alone as members of the more right-wing Junts per Catalunya group decided by a small majority they had grown tired of their partner's softly-softly approach with the national government in Madrid over Catalonia's demands for independence.

ERC is in long-term round-table talks over the region's future with Pedro Sánchez's ministers and lends its support to the PM to win his motions in the national parliament.

The leader of ERC, Pere Aragonès, can now only count on 33 votes in the 135-seat Catalan regional parliament. ERC and Junts had been in coalition there in different shapes and forms for 10 years, driving the moves to unilateral independence.

"Pere Aragonès' government is a failed government and it has no democratic legitimacy," said Junts leader Laura Borràs.

For now, Aragonès has opted to carry on governing, replacing the seven regional ministers of his Junts partners - along with their 250 department heads and advisers - with his own people. Aragonès said it would be counter productive to go to elections now.

On Tuesday, the replacement ministers were sworn in, with Aragonès choosing people from a wide political background, claiming his government now reflected the 80 per cent of Catalonia that wanted an agreed referendum on independence.

The break up of the Catalan coalition was being viewed last weekend as the end of the forcible campaign for independence - know as the 'el procés' (the process) - that climaxed in the illegal referendum in 2017. "El procés has shut down for sure," said Jordi Sánchez, one of those jailed over the referendum.

An official poll in the summer showed support for independence had declined to 41 per cent.