The CEO of the marketer Factorenergía and former vice president of the Futbol Club Barcelona, Emili Rousaud, has begun to pull strings to try to put together a candidacy for the upcoming elections to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. He is the first to do it but predictably he will not be the only one. Among part of the Barcelona business community and the main economic forums, there is an interest in unseating the Eines del País independence platform from the business corporation, which has controlled it since it won the elections in 2019. Carles Tusquets, one of the candidates who opted on that occasion , has been asked to lead a list again, but has ruled it out.
The elections do not yet have a date. The Catalan Government plans to draft the decree with its call – the Chamber is a public law corporation – at the beginning of next January so that these can be held before the summer holidays of 2023, although other sources do not rule out that the elections can be held in September. The rule that served as a framework for the electoral process three years ago has been invalidated by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia without there having been any changes in the institution, chaired by Mònica Roca after Joan Canadell, now a deputy for Junts, left the charge two years after assuming the presidency, as agreed with Eines.
It is not the first time that Rousaud, who has refused to attend this newspaper, tries to preside over an emblematic institution. In 2020, after denouncing the management of then president Josep Maria Bartomeu, he made an unsuccessful attempt to try to be president of Futbol Club Barcelona. From Pimec, the Catalan employers’ association of SMEs of which he is vice president, they affirm that if he ends up presenting himself to the chamber they will support him. Its current president, Antoni Cañete, won his position in an election in which his rival was also supported by Eines de País, a group promoted by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), one of the institutions that has called the massive manifestations of the Diada.
The other Catalan employers’ association, Foment del Treball, also defends putting together a candidacy for the chamber, although sources from the employers regret the solo step that Rousaud is taking and advocate a single list that unites all the forces of the business community opposed to Eines de País. In fact, they want to avoid what happened three years ago, when it was impossible to create a single list and three different businessmen faced the mobilization capacity of the pro-independence platform. Sources consulted assure that the best way to unhorse Eines it is to assume the same strategy: a candidacy without a presidential candidate, who would be chosen once the elections are won.
Foment del Treball and Pimec are two organizations doubly interested in turning the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce government upside down. In addition to reversing the weight of independence in the institution, they were also very critical of the movements they made so that the chambera public law corporation, was represented in the Generalitat’s institutional participation bodies, in which until now only the majority employers’ associations and unions have had a place.
Relations between the large Catalan company and the current president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mònica Roca, and her team have become complicated in recent months. The anger had its maximum expression last June. Then the plenary session, dominated by pro-independence businessmen, approved modifying the institution’s coat of arms, which entailed ending the monarchical crown, and voted in favor of a manifesto recognizing the Consell de la República, the political movement founded and led by the former president Carlos Puigdemont.
At that same meeting, it was agreed to reduce the number of so-called silver chairs, those plenary seats occupied by companies that make financial contributions to have representation, a figure with which they wanted to contribute to the battered finances of the corporation since liberalization of the chamber dimensions. There were initially 14 and will be only two, which generated resentment among the affected companies, who consider an attack against large companies. At that time, the recurring criticism of Tusquets in plenary was accompanied by those of the representative of Criteria Caixa (the investment arm of La Caixa), Josep Maria Coronas, who charged against the politicization that the entity was assuming.
There is a significant change since Eines de País was imposed in 2019 with the mobilizing impulse of the ANC: the fracture in which the Catalan independence movement is immersed. The biggest example is the break in the Catalan Government, with the recent departure of Junts, but it can also be interpreted in the different ways of acting that the two civil platforms that have supported the sovereignist process in the last decade, the Assembly —more close to one-sidedness—and Òmnium. The great unknown is whether this crisis can have consequences in the mobilization in the elections to the Chamber.
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