SELF-DETERMINATION is back on Catalonia’s political agenda after its two main pro-independence parties yesterday announced a preliminary agreement for coalition government.

The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) took three months to reach the eleventh-hour deal, which also involves the far-left CUP.

After three months of talks, they had a deadline of next week to avoid a snap election. Acting vice-president Pere Aragones, from the ERC, and JxCat’s general secretary Jordi Sanchez described it as a good deal with no losers.

Both were aware of the risk a snap election would pose to the pro-indy majority and, at a joint press conference yesterday, Aragones said: “We have reached an agreement to govern together. We have the understanding to launch the new republican Generalitat, a strong and cohesive government.”

Sanchez added: “We will not work only for 52%, but we will not disappoint this 52%,” in reference to the percentage of votes achieved by the independence-supporting parties.

Although only three political groupings are involved in the coalition, determination of the strategy for the republican administration will also include the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, with some input also expected from Belgium, where exiled former president Carles Puigdemont has established the Council for the Republic.

The leadership of JxCat and ERC have still to confirm their formal acceptance of the agreement, the indications are that the investiture of Aragones as president will be held later this week.

In a statement, the two main players apologised for the delay in formulating the agreement.

They said: “The two parties apologise for having taken so much time in sealing a deal and commit to putting together a government which seeks to build up the citizens’ trust again, with maximum trust being shared between partners and collaboration with CUP.”

Laying down the gauntlet to Spain, they added: “Our aim is to serve the country and its people in the best way possible, to govern for everyone and progress toward the common aim of an independent Catalan Republic.”