Editorial – January 16
Federalistes d’Esquerres (Federalists of the Left) has its origin in September 2012 when a group of citizens saw the need to open a federalist space in Catalonia in view of the political scenario that emerged after the Diada and the call for early elections. Thus was born the Appeal to the Federalist and Left-wing Catalonia, a manifesto that makes clear the concern about the false start that the sovereignist option implies and the need for a Europeanist and social alternative to the crisis.
There is still time to put into action the legal mechanisms that make it possible to defend the rule of law, allow citizens to vote and have a serious government; we have to do it.
On January 15, the government of the Generalitat has perpetrated an act that deserves a serious qualification: it has annulled the Decree of last December 21, which called elections to Parliament on February 14; and, as if this were not enough, it has announced (not “called”) the elections for May 30th.
Reasons? It appeals to the unquestionably serious health situation derived from the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to maintain social distance measures, avoid crowds, etc. All of this would be fine … if it weren’t because it’s not true. Or is it that we were not in a pandemic situation on December 21, when they were convened? Or was it that we weren’t, when control measures were relaxed during the Christmas holidays? Or is it that we already know that on May 30 we should have gotten out of this situation?
The explanation, as has been the norm of the independence government, is the most primary political and electoral interests of the members of the government. And the proof is that this decision has nothing to do with the postponement of the elections in Galicia and the Basque Country last spring: which were called (before the pandemic) for April, and took place in July, within the framework of the state of alarm proclaimed by the outbreak of the supervening pandemic, and without the new date being set in the decree that postponed them. And the reason was very clear: at that time it was not possible to know the duration and intensity of the crisis. Only weeks later, after the confinement had been overcome and the risk areas had been delimited, the date of July 12 was set (and even so, Galician and Basque regions that were still in an emergency situation were sealed off and did not participate in the elections).
The already ex-president Torra ended the legislature a year ago, after the approval of the budgets; Parliament has been dissolved last month. So today in Catalonia there are no institutional references; it is pathetic that the Decree published today refers to the person who presides over the Generalitat as “the vice-president of the Government to replace the presidency of the Generalitat” (article 2). It is pathetic that one has to resort to formulas like this to say that there is no President of the Generalitat. It is not possible to legislate, or to prepare budget projects, or to prepare the proposals that must be submitted to Brussels to participate in the Community investment funds “Next Generation”. And attention: the elections will be called “after analysis of the epidemiological and public health circumstances”; that is: they cannot be certain about the electoral date. The United States held elections in November, in the midst of a pandemic; the next day 24 Portugal elects the president of the republic; the elections to the presidency of Barça will take place, it seems, at the beginning of March. Therefore, it is possible to vote in a situation of health crisis, taking measures such as expanding the number of schools, the use of larger and more ventilated premises, the promotion of voting by mail, or others, aimed at guaranteeing the safety of all participants in the electoral process; and ultimately, and badly, as was done in the Basque Country and Galicia, leaving the areas of the territory in the most critical situation without voting.
One should not only vote: one has to vote as soon as possible. Catalonia needs a solid, active government, capable of finding its place in the institutional frameworks and of starting to lift the country out of a morass that has lasted for 10 years. They have just recalled it, in an unprecedented joint manifesto, the main social forces: Comisiones Obreras, UGT, Fomento del Trabajo and PIMEC. We want to add ourselves to this requirement: it is still possible. Leaving the elections for May 30 means leaving the country stopped until after the summer, or beyond, and we cannot afford it.
There is still time to put into action the legal mechanisms that make it possible to defend the rule of law, allow citizens to vote and have a serious government; you have to do it.