INTERVIEW with Savador Illa, PSC
ISABEL GARCIA PAGAN, LOLA GARCÍA
Salvador Illa insists on claiming electoral victory and running for the investiture to preside over the Generalitat, although now he does not have the necessary support. The former minister calls on ERC to choose between him or a “very right-wing” formation like Junts.
“There is an opportunity for a progressive government and I received 49.251 more votes than ERC”
– Is that of the PSC a bitter victory?
– It is a very relevant victory. It is the victory of the reunion. It is the first time that we have won in votes and tied in seats. We got 49,251 more votes than ERC. That puts us at the center of gravity of Catalan politics.
– It’s a win with limited effects.
– No. The change is unstoppable and will come from the hand of the PSC. The effects are already noticeable in Catalan politics. The left won and lost ithe pro-independence side. It will be the legislature of dialogue and reunion. It is an important step, not the final one perhaps, but an important one.
– What consequences has it already had?
– The opportunity for a progressive government has been opened and I will attempt the investiture. There are 49,251 more reasons for me to be president and not for the ERC candidate.
– The victory of dialogue can also be that of ERC
– Let them say it. They have to choose between defending the Mossos or the irredentism of the Junts and the CUP. The incidents are very worrying. It is true that there is room for improvement in crimes on freedom of expression that the Government of Spain has already committed to review, but nothing justifies vandalism and violence. I want to express my support for the Mossos and condemn all violence.
– ERC also proposes a change in the police model.
– I want to express my astonishment that there are formations that question the work of the Mossos. That is a first dividing line. You have to choose: either in favor of the Mossos or against. Or is it that anything goes? Should we normalize vandalism? Are we aware of the image we are giving?
– Is it an appeal to ERC?
– The PSC has very clear ideas when it comes to defending the professionalism of the Mossos. If there are things to improve, they can be studied. But there cannot be any kind of crack in that defense. Whoever does not have that clear is ineligible to govern Catalonia.
– Do you attribute the criticism to the whereabouts of a negotiation to form a government?
– I attribute it to the confusion of ideas of some parties. Enough of sinking the country. Pro-independence has led us to decline and enough is enough. The work of the security forces cannot be questioned permanently.
– In the central government there is also confusion of ideas about the demonstrations and the security forces.
– Absolutely. It is a coalition government and those responsible for the matter have strongly condemned the violence. No democracy is compatible with violence.
– One part of the government condemns the violence and the other encourages protests.
– That will have to be clarified by Podemos.
– But it is a coalition government.
– But the majority partner and the person who has responsibility for the Interior portfolio have clearly expressed themselves.
– You say that it is time for a left-wing government in Catalonia; does it include ERC?
– The dialogue has won and I will come forward to lead it. The rest must see what they want to do. Catalonia has voted for a left-wing exit and formations such as Junts incorporate people with very right-wing and even xenophobic approaches. It would not be understood that they opted for the right. I have clear ideas and I think I can reach the consultation round with more support than other left-wing parties.
– Do you defend a left-wing government even without presiding over it?
– No. I think it is up to me to preside over that left-wing government.
– And the supports?
– We will continue to have meetings with the Comuns and I think I have options for the inauguration to prosper and I will take advantage of them.
– Who else do you hope to add?
– I’ll talk to everyone except Vox. We have started with the Comuns and have had discreet contacts with the rest.
– Is there no veto to receive the independence votes of ERC?
– I did not veto, others have done it to me together with right-wing parties that have people with xenophobic views on their list. Independence is not the solution. If others want to persist in something that has not worked or that, although there is a progressive majority, they choose to agree with a right-wing party, they will have to explain it.
– If there is no veto to receive ERC’s votes, then there will be no veto to offer them yours?
– No. I have won the elections. As for support, I am asking it for myself. I do not consider another scenario.
– There is another scenario: more than 50% of pro-independence votes.
– There were already 50% of pro-independence seats. Before they counted seats and now votes. In percentage of the census they have fallen a lot. There is a clear progressive majority.
– What makes you think that you will have sufficient support and that the president of the Parliament will entrust you with the investiture?
– Common sense. There is no point in repeating what has already failed. If you have taken a path and it is a dead end, the normal thing is not to take it again. Another scenario has opened, which allows the right wing formations to be isolated.
– You insist that Junts incorporate xenophobic people. But the PSC governs with them in the Diputación de Barcelona.
– These are different institutional settings. The Provincial Council does not work for independence and those people are not there. The PSC reads the electoral results and, in each institutional sphere, tries to make governments that work. The Provincial Council has made itself available to the town councils, and there is no behavior that can be labeled xenophobic or disrespectful to anyone, on the contrary.
– You say that the bet for dialogue has won. At the table between governments, what is the dialogue about if the socialists are on both sides of the table?
– We will defend the interests of each institution, regardless of the party. With the reunion schedule of 44 points, it is an opportunity to unblock issues.
– Wouldn’t that be a bilateral commission?
– The dialogue table is an investiture agreement and the agreements are to be fulfilled. There is a second table, within Catalonia, in which consensus must be sought.
– Turning the page is approving the pardons?
– The pardons have nothing to do with the elections. The page is turned improving public health, reactivating the economy…
– The Government recognized that there was a political conflict. Now it doesn’t even mention it.
– I’m not saying I am against it. But it is obvious that there is a pandemic and that the health system must be strengthened. That is a priority. Most people want us to take care of that, while continuing to take care of the other issues.
– In two years there has been no progress to resolve the conflict.
– At the table there have been contradictory proposals and blocking by the Catalan Government. And despite the pandemic it has met.
– Did you like seeing the prisoners in the electoral battleground?
– I neither liked nor disliked it. The rule of law must be applied. I wish some hadn’t broken it and we wouldn’t have made it here.
– And that there were pardons shortly?
– I insist, I respect the rule of law. You have to wait for the procedure to finish. Then I will express my opinion. I am for justice and against revenge.
– In that there are differences in the Government. Iglesias defends pardons and the right of self-determination.
– I do not defend the right of self-determination, it has no place in the international order and it leads to division. Other than that, the coalition program is being fulfilled.
– Are you worried about the noise that is taking place around the government?
– No. The pandemic has been fought and budgets have been approved with the highest social investment in all of democracy era. The service record is respectable. Some are in favor of noise, I am for concrete facts.
– Depending on who is president, will the relationship with ERC in Congress vary?
– I understand it will not.
– Does anyone see an alternative to the Government of Sánchez?
– Here we decide on who is to lead the Generalitat and that does not affect agreements in other institutions.
– With the Illa effect underway, would you present yourself to the Barcelona City Council?
– Not at all. Jaume Collboni will be the candidate. In politics, you don’t jump from one place to another. That’s not the way.
– You went from ministry to being a candidate for the Generalitat.
– Miquel Iceta asked me and I think the results have not been bad. Now my goal is to be president of the Generalitat.
– If not now, next time?
– No, I want to be now.