Salvador Illa is convinced that he will be the next president of the Generalitat, but remains faithful to the prudence and caution that characterizes him. He doesn’t want to start building the house from the roof, but he gives hints about what his government will be like: open to prestigious independents. Avoid, however, talking about a “government of the best”. He knows that the negotiation will be long and complex and, possibly, he is starting to get used to the idea of ​​a minority government.

What reading do you make of the 12-M results?

That the Catalans have decided to open a new stage in Catalonia. There were two options: more of the same, with a balance sheet in recent years far below what Catalonia can and must aspire to, or open a new stage that I define with two verbs, unite and serve, with which I want to emphasize what unites us Catalans and put public services as the first objective. And the Catalans have clearly opted for this.

A few days ago, in the elections in the Basque Country, the nationalists obtained the best result in history, and now in Catalonia they have obtained the worst. How do you rate it?

I am a bit reluctant to compare the political reality of the Basque Country and that of Catalonia. It seems to me that we are living in a context of very deep changes, systemic, geopolitical, economic, technological, environmental changes. And citizens have understood that it is not time to make divisive approaches, but to emphasize the common bonds between Catalans, Catalans with the rest of the Spanish and with Europe as a whole.

What would be your summary of these years of the process?

I think the most objective summary is that Catalonia has been far below its potential. We could have driven the car at 120 km/h and we drove at 40 or 50 km/h. This can be seen if we analyze the different public policies. There is a drought and we are not sufficiently prepared. In education, we have regressed many positions in Spain and Europe as a whole. In renewable energy, we have not progressed as much as we should. In terms of infrastructure, we have not taken the decisions that needed to be taken. In healthcare, we have not faced the necessary reforms. In terms of mobility or housing, neither. And this can be summed up in one fact. Catalonia had always led Spain in economic terms and in 2017 we stopped leading it in terms of GDP of the Spanish economy. In this new stage we must make up for lost time and do so in an inclusive way, with an appeal to all Catalans as a whole. Whatever language they speak, wherever they come from, whatever they think. Everyone must feel concerned in the collective effort we must make to recover this lost time.

ERC has obtained a bad electoral result and they consider that they have made a pragmatic effort unlike Junts, but in the amnesty negotiation they believe that the PSOE has rewarded more Junts.

First of all, I want to express my respect for the reflection processes that all political formations go through. Esquerra has a long history, with a service record that can be more or less appreciated, but it is in favor of Catalonia. I myself in this last legislature have always had my hand outstretched to try to put the interests of Catalonia ahead of the interests of our political formation.

He didn’t answer me…

No, no. I wouldn’t agree. The elections on July 23 drew two options for Spain. An option that Spain as a whole and Catalunya resoundingly said no to, which was the right-wing and far-right option of the PP and Vox. And another that responds to a plural and diverse Spain model, led by Pedro Sánchez, which required the participation of many political organizations, in particular ERC and Junts, but also the PNB, Bildu and the BNG. The negotiations were complex, but there was no idea of ​​prioritizing anyone.

Already entering the investiture process, do you see any possibility that Carles Puigdemont could be president of the Generalitat?

Frankly, no. In the last 10 years there have been four presidents and five legislatures of an average duration of two and a half years. I think that this is a path that the citizens have said no to. It is up to the PSC to lead this new stage. I already made progress in the campaign that I would assume my responsibility and that is what I will do. I will present my candidacy for president. And I do not think that any political formation blocks the will of the Catalans.

You now have three options: a coalition government, being tripartite or bipartite, or a solo government. Which formula appeals to you the most?

We’ll let things take their own time. Parliament must first be constituted on June 10. Then negotiations are started for the investiture that must take place on June 25. The European election campaign starts next week and this must also be taken into account in the dialogue process. We will analyze the different options and the important thing is to open this new stage, to do it with the formula that can provide the most stability. From my progressive convictions, also the most progressive formula possible, which puts public services as a priority.

Are you willing to give up the presidency of the Parliament in exchange for this support for governance?

The Bureau of the Parliament, which is made up of seven members, a president, two vice-presidents and four secretaries, must respond to the plurality of the Parliament and the political weight of each formation. We will see.

And could it be the case that the PSC cedes the presidency of the Parliament?

The citizens voted what they voted for. I want to respect the dialogue processes that will take place with the other political formations, but it seems to me that it is also very important to respect the will expressed by citizens at the polls.

Does he think that the PP should be on the Table of Parliament?

It is the fourth group of the Parliament and we will see what result these conversations with the different groups give, but I do not want to exclude any political formation, except those that profess hate speech.

You have 42 deputies, which is not the same as 33, as ERC had, but governing in a minority will not be easy…

My purpose is to aspire to lead this new stage in Catalonia in a stable way. These days we have seen a note from a rating agency, Moody’s, which evaluates the results of the elections in Catalonia as a key to generating stability in both Catalonia and Spain. And I propose a government that is as transversal as possible, made up of very competent people, naturally based on the political formations that support it and that from there knows how to attract talent.

You let the name of Núria Parlon go as a possible Minister of the Interior during the election campaign. I don’t know if the government is more or less closed and if it will only be occupied by PSC militants or if there may be independents.

I have begun to reflect on the scheme of a future government, but I want to be very careful, because things must happen in their own time. The commitment I acquired I maintain, of course, with respect to Interior. I would like a government not only of militant people from political formations, but open to independents who have stood out for their professional excellence or for their skills in a certain area of ​​responsibility. I think it is the right thing to open this new layer in Catalonia.

any name

No. It is still premature.

Do you think the number of councils is right or will there be fewer?

I haven’t started, but I don’t think it’s relevant whether there are 14, 15, 16 or 13.


Yes, this is a commitment we have made.

And about the controversy over whether the Department of Climate Action should recover the name of Agriculture?

It seems to me that the scheme itself must respond to the government program and to certain demands that have been made. I will be sensitive to this, but I am not in a position to be more specific about the possible structure of the government, because I insist, I have not yet thought it through.

If Puigdemont ends up adopting the decision he announced to RAC1, that he would leave Parliament if he was not sworn in as president, do you think it would be easier to get along with Junts without him?

I want to be respectful to Puigdemont and to all the political formations, but especially together. They have to make their own decisions and Puigdemont has to evaluate how things have gone. It is more difficult for some political formations to admit reality, but I do not want to interfere in any case in the process that each political space has.

Are you afraid of a repeat election?

I think that would be a mistake. I’m not into that, I don’t get it. It seems to me that it is not what Catalonia needs and it would be counterproductive. We will do everything possible to avoid a repeat election which is not convenient.

Has it been possible to contact other political forces with a view to a negotiation?

No. Beyond the usual courtesy calls. I have not yet had a thorough reflection and the start of the European election campaign will require that, if there is any kind of contact, it should be done with due discretion.

During these years, you have practically had no contact with Carles Puigdemont. Does he now regret not going to Brussels, as Santos Cerdán did?

No, I haven’t had contact with them, it’s true. I am a person who believes in collective projects and that politics is made by collective organizations with their decision-making bodies and their managers. My party and I have maintained a relationship, I think fluid, with the relevant political formations. In the case of Junts I have had it, but not with Puigdemont. I don’t regret it, nor do I stop regretting it.

What would be the first decision you would make if you were president of the Generalitat?

I committed to two things. One is an emergency decree in relation to infrastructure and the measures that must be taken to deal with the drought. And the second is to appoint a self-government commissioner whose first task would be to carry out a diagnosis, an audit of public services in Catalonia, not to delve into what has eventually been done wrong, but to find out why we have reached where we have arrived and above all what needs to be done to reverse the situation.

You have defended the existence of a table of parties to discuss self-government. Now that you can be president, would you start it?

Dialogue between Catalan political formations is essential. I will not simply relegate it to the parliamentary sphere.

Open to everyone? Also in Vox and Aliança Catalana?

Hate speech is a red line. The Catalans must be congratulated because this has been a campaign, I wouldn’t say exemplary, but it is instructive in relation to the political climate we see in other territories. There has been respect, always in a tone of education that I would like to see spread to the rest of Spain.

But isolating them does not make them lose votes, on the contrary.

Yes, but I also think that those who have been contemporaries with these speeches, I mean the Popular Party, who even govern with them in several autonomous communities, have not achieved a good result, because Vox continues exactly there, and they have let his speech penetrated.

If Esquerra and Junts are left out of the government, it is logical that the position they maintain in the face of Congress will be different. Are you afraid it will affect the legislature?

I do not think so. They are different institutional plans. I think that anyone who puts this at risk or plays with it will not have the support of the Catalans who voted for Pedro Sánchez on July 23. It also seems to me that a lesson can be learned from May 12, which is that Catalonia wants to be a main actor in Spain again, not a secondary author. The recent history of Catalonia has been the history of getting involved in the construction of this diverse Spain. Two of the seven fathers of the Constitution are Catalan. The Catalans have not only voted not to leave this Spain, but have said yes to improving, strengthening and consolidating this plural and diverse Spain.

Puigdemont has threatened more than once with a motion of no confidence against Sánchez. Do you think he’s capable?

I think that would be a mistake. But everyone is free to make their own decisions. I don’t know if a motion of censure of the PP, Vox and Junts would be the smartest thing. I leave the question here for the readers of your newspaper to answer.

How do you see the European elections?

Very relevant. These are perhaps the most momentous elections since the constitution of the European Union, in the sense that for the first time there may be a temptation on the part of the conservative space of the European People’s Party to reach agreements with extreme right-wing parties. Beware of this because it can put the founding values ​​of the EU at risk and, therefore, it is very important that a forceful, clear message is sent by Catalonia and Spain.