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Radical CUP party wants “ensemble cast” to head Catalan executive

After Sunday’s elections, the far-left separatists hold the key to power

They have stated that they want “three or four people” with equivalent weight to lead

Anna Gabriel and Antonio Baños, leaders of CUP.
Anna Gabriel and Antonio Baños, leaders of CUP.

The small radical party that holds the key to the new Catalan government following Sunday’s regional elections wants the executive to have “three or four” premiers.

The number-two official at CUP, Anna Gabriel, said on Thursday that the new regional government could have “an ensemble presidency” made up of “three or four profiles with equivalent weight” who would share power.

This innovative scenario would unblock the impasse in which Catalan politics finds itself after Artur Mas won the parliamentary election with his Junts pel Sí bloc, but failed to secure enough seats for an absolute majority.

Nobody has talked about burying anybody, we are not asking for Mas’s political death”

CUP official Anna Gabriel

Mas, the most visible face of the pro-independence movement, now needs support from the fringe party to secure that majority. But CUP leaders, who disagree with Junts pel Sí on everything except the desire for Catalan independence, said before and after their campaign run that they would not support Mas’s reinstatement.

Other political forces in the regional parliament are either openly anti-independence or support different solutions halfway between the current status quo and outright secession.

Two days after the election, CUP leader Antonio Baños said that “we are undertaking a new period and we cannot do it with the image that represents cutbacks in Catalonia sitting in the premiership.”

Artur Mas celebrates his victory with Junts pel Sí on Sunday night.
Artur Mas celebrates his victory with Junts pel Sí on Sunday night. Getty

Baños also called the results of the election “a victory of anti-capitalism and feminism.”

But despite CUP’s refusal to support Mas’s investiture, it left the door open to “reach a deal.”

In statements to Catalunya Ràdio on Thursday morning, Anna Gabriel rejected claims that CUP wants Mas to leave as a necessary condition to support Junts pel Sí.

“Nobody has talked about burying anybody – we are not asking for Mas’s political death,” she said. “Let’s talk about what kind of role he could have.”

Instead, the anti-capitalist, Europe-sceptical party wants a form of government that is “less presidentialist” and which reflects “the transversality of the independence movement.”

Gabriel also underscored the need to “be able to talk about women” with regard to the new executive.

But Junts pel Sí is pressuring CUP to backtrack on its campaign promise to seek Mas’s removal.

“Mas is an asset at the internal and international level for the [independence] process,” said Josep Rull, CDC’s organization secretary.

English version by Susana Urra.