Cuurent president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, has said yes to a collaboration with the Catalan nationalist assocation Reagrupament, if he decides to present himself at the upcoming Generalitat elections (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). While Laporta, who will step down as Barça president in June, has dropped significant hints about a move into Catalan politics in recent months, he has still not completely confirmed his participation in the elections for the government of the autonomous region, which are due to take place some time in the autumn, possibly in November. Laporta yesterday attended the second assembly of Reagrupament, at which he made it clear that he shares the independence ideals of Reagrupament leader Joan Carretero (formerly a member of the party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya), and made a speech in which he encouraged members to increase their political action by creating a party rather than remaining as a political association, “a new party that would work to gain the majorities to be able to declare independence.”
Problems in the temporary installations set up for the Ninot and Sant Antoni markets, to house the stalls while renovation works are carried out on the permanent buildings, have provoked complaints from stall-holders (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The temporary markets for the two institutions are expected to be in place for between two and four years, leading the Ajuntament to take action in response to the complaints put forward, although there is still tension between the council and some of the stall-holders affected—a representatives’ group from the fresh produce area of the Sant Antoni market, one of the areas that has seen the most problems, resigned en masse a few weeks ago, apparently fed up with the ongoing discussions and the “many errors” they perceived in the erection of the temporary structure. The main difficulty that the businesses are facing in both markets is failings in the drainage system, with the result that the stalls and passageways of the temporary markets are liable to water leaks. However, other issues that have been raised include badly-fitting doors, openings in the walls that can let in rodents and temperature problems.
The long-anticipated ruling by the Spanish constitutional court on the new version of the Catalan statute (Estatut) is pending one more vote (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The vote could allow the statute to be approved by six members of the court against the four who continue to argue against approving fundamental changes in the document from its previous incarnation. One of the magistrates, Eugeni Gay, is the most insistent member of the court that the new statute not see up to 18 of its articles cut out, which is one possible option that the court's members have considered. Gay's hesitation (and support for such from another member, Pascual Sala) has contributed to the drawn-out process that the court has followed in trying to make its decision regarding the statute, as has the reluctance of the court’s president, María Emilia Casas, to use her deciding vote to force a final decision in response to the appeal brought by the Partido Popular against the statute, which has already been approved by both the Catalan and Spanish governments, as well as by the Catalan population through a referendum.
Also in the news: Residents protest against proposed mosque in Catalan town of Arenys de Mar (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Zapatero to be interviewed on Catalan television this evening (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Messi scores another hat-trick as Barça stay neck-and-neck with Madrid (read full article in Catalan here, Avui).