Posted on 1/07/04 in Member organizations
In Spain, the biggest political parties of the country, the Social-democrats (PSOE) and the right-wing Partido Popular (PP), considered those elections as a second round of the Spanish elections of the 14th of March. That day, the PP lost the elections and their man Rajoy was kicked out and Zapatero, a Social-democrat, became president. The PP complained then about this result, arguing that the electors were influenced by the massacre of the 11th March in Madrid made by Al-Qaeda. So in these European Union elections the Social-democrats wanted to demonstrate that this was not true, that they had a large support from the Spanish people. And the PP wanted to prove the contrary, thus meaning that the Social-democrat victory was circumstantial.
This panorama made the last European Union elections in Spain absolutely non-political, with no interest for the majority of the population. The campaign was a constant fight between these two big parties about, was it opportunism or truly the people’s feelings that spoke before. The enlargement, the EU Constitution, the importance of the European Parliament, all of this was completely out of the electoral debate. As an evident consequence of that, politicians were not able to make these elections motivating for the citizens and so we had in Spain one of the most high abstention rates of all Europe. The participation just reached 46%.
In Catalonia, the elections were quite similar. The debate was all the time around one single topic: Catalonia as a nation without a state in the EU and the Catalan language as an unofficial language of the EU. This is an important topic for us, because Catalan, a language spoken by almost 15 million people will not be recognized as an official language in the European Constitution, whereas Latvian and Slovenian are. But, as happened as well in Spain, we spended all the campaign talking about that, and again nobody remembered that these European Union elections were really important not only because of that, but also because of the Kyoto Protocol, because of GMOs, because of the social
Europe, etc. And again in Catalonia we had one of the highest rates of abstention.
In Catalonia, the Social-democrats will have three MEPs and the rest of the parties including the Greens one. One of the major demands from Catalonia is that we want a Catalan electoral region. Catalonian political reality is quite different from the rest of Spain, and it is not always that easy to run in the elections with other Spanish partners.
But we also had good news the evening of the elections. For the first time, the Greens from Spain were going to have two MEPs: David Hammerstein from the Spanish Greens and Raül Romeva from the Catalans, ICV. This is really important for Joves d’esquerra verda, specially because Raül was an old member of Joves and because we can also consider him a young MEP. Raül is 32 years old, and I am sure he will collaborate with FYEG from the EP Green Group anytime that we may need him.