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Viewing cable 06BARCELONA169, SOCIALISTS, LEFTISTS RECONSTITUTE THREE PARTY COALITION,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BARCELONA169 2006-11-09 16:04 2010-12-16 12:12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Barcelona
VZCZCXRO4934
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLA #0169/01 3131658
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091658Z NOV 06
FM AMCONSUL BARCELONA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0790
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0761
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 0953
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BARCELONA 000169

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EUR/WE FOR CLEMENTS/CERVETTI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SP
SUBJECT: SOCIALISTS, LEFTISTS RECONSTITUTE THREE PARTY COALITION,
OUTLINE NEW CATALAN GOVERNMENT

REF: BARCELONA 166 AND PREVIOUS

BARCELONA 00000169 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The leaders of the PSC, ERC, and the
Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV), the three-party coalition
(Tripartite), which has governed Catalonia since 2003, agreed in
principal November 4 to reprise their oft-fractious partnership
and form the next autonomous regional government. ERC leader
Josep Carod Rovira announced the agreement after a two-day round
of marathon talks. PSC presidential candidate Jose Montilla
will be named President - the first non-Catalan born president
in the region's history. Carod will encumber the newly created
position of Vice President (formerly First Counselor). Reaction
from the CiU was swift: presidential candidate Artur Mas
accused Montilla and Carod of "tricking" the voters. CiU Secgen
and Spanish Parliament member Josep Antoni Duran Lleida
immediately announced his party would pull its support from PM
Zapatero, both have since moderated their early remarks.
Playing to his strength as stable and serious, Montilla will
have to move quickly to allay fears that he is not focused
enough on Catalan interests, even as he works to implement the
Catalan autonomy statute (Estatut). Otherwise, he could find
himself facing the same problems his predecessor faced with an
outspoken coalition partner that focuses more narrowly on
Catalan independence rather than broader social and economic
issues. End Summary.

PSC-ERC-ICV Tripartite: Round Two

2. (SBU) Republican Left of Catalan (ERC) President Josep Lluis
Carod Rovira announced November 4 that the three parties that
made up the previous governing coalition in Catalonia - the
so-called Tripartite - had reached agreement to reform the
alliance, thus, denying Artur Mas and the Convergence and Union
(CiU) the chance to form the government. (Note: The CiU
coalition won the November 1 elections, but did not win an
outright majority (reftel). End note.) Socialist Party of
Catalan (PSC) presidential candidate Jose Montilla will be
elected President of the autonomous region (Generalitat); Carod
will occupy the newly created position of Vice President, and
Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV) President Joan Saur will
likely occupy the third most important position as Counselor for
the Interior and Institutional Relations and Participation. The
three parties will have a total of 70 seats in the Parliament;
two seats more than necessary to control Parliament. Montilla's
investiture will be an historic occasion as he will become the
first non-Catalan born president in the region's history, a
subject that ran as an undercurrent throughout the election. In
remarks November 7, Montilla presented his new team to the press
November 7, and in his statement he declared, "I am aware that
all was not positive during the last legislature, but in life
what is important is not to not commit mistakes, but to learn
from your mistakes~we will not repeat the mistakes of the past."

3. (U) In this vein, the coalition reportedly has agreed to the
following broad guidelines:

No surprises - Carod and Saura have apparently agreed to inform
Montilla before taking any actions that might adversely affect
the Generalitat.

Unity first - The three leaders have agreed to put the interests
of the autonomous region before party interests.

All for Catalonia - Social issues, including housing, education,
and employment, will be the focus of the Generalitat.

Sharp CiU Reaction

4. (SBU) The reaction from CiU presidential candidate Artur Mas,
and CiU Secgen and Spanish Parliamentarian Jose Antoni Duran,
was swift and angry. Mas accused Montilla and Carod of
"tricking" the voters into believing another Tripartite was not
an option. Duran announced his party would not continue to
support the government of PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Both
later moderated their initial remarks as foreshadowed to the CG
by Joan Russell, Popular Party (PP) insider and President of the
Catalan Manufacturers Association.

Catalans Calm

5. (SBU) Catalans have reacted calmly to the news of the
Tripartite resurgence. Polls leading up to November 1 indicated
that this might be a possible outcome of the election. What
might have taken some by surprise was the speed with which the
coalition came together to form their government. Media
reported some small, but noisy protests in and around Barcelona,
but no other activity of note. It appears Catalans are either
resigned, or simply willing to give Montilla and his new team a
chance.

BARCELONA 00000169 002.2 OF 002



6. (SBU) Comment: Once confirmed in Parliament, Montilla will
have to quickly show his government is ready for work as his
grace period will likely be short, and an angry CiU will be
nipping at his shoes from the start. A first order of business
is likely to be quick implementation of the Estatut, and even
this will take the measure of Montilla's ability. It was the
ERC that refused to vote in favor of the Estatut, which resulted
in its expulsion from the coalition over the summer and the call
for early elections. Montilla will also have to allay ERC (for
a start) fears that he might be soft on Catalan interests, an
issue the CiU (at a minimum) will want to use against him during
his mandate. At the national level, the coalition is already
paying dividends: according to press reports, the ERC quickly
supported the PSOE in the Spanish Parliament on several
budgetary issues after CiU parliamentarians withdrew their
support. End Comment.
ROBINSON