News from Catalonia

16th November: Elections in Catalonia
The next 16th of November there will be regional elections in Catalonia. It is an important date because for the first time in 23 years Mr.Jordi Pujol, the President of the Catalan Government who has ruled the country since the beginning of the eighties, is not running again for his reelection. Therefore, the upcoming elections are not only a great challenge for Convergènica i Unió, the right wing nationalist party represented by Pujol, but also for the progressist political parties in Catalonia which for the first time in 23 years have the chance to change the Catalan government.

These 23 years of right wing politics have had terrible consequences for a lot of people, most specially for young people. We can say that today it is much more difficult to live in Catalonia when you are under 30 than it was at the beginning of the eighties. There is data which cleary supports this statement. For instance, in 1980 the average age of people moving out of their parents’ home was 25. Today the average age is about 31. Unfortunately, we can say that it not only has increased 5 years, but also that it is the latest independence age in Europe. The reason is to be found in the fact that young people have lots of problems to rent or to buy a home, our jobs are precarious and what is worse, the government has done nothing to solve that. What we have inherited from the President Pujol is that young people have been one of the most forgotten social groups in Catalonia during 23 years.

From the green point of view this is unacceptable and we strongly believe that a radical change in the politics of Catalonia is needed. This is why the slogan of our campaign is: “Vota el canvi de debò” (Vote for a true change”), to emphasize that we need a real alternative.

There are three left wing political parties in Catalonia: the PSC (social-democrats), ERC (Catalan independentists socialdemocrats) and ICV (red-greens). Our politcal proposal since the last Catalan elections is to build up a progressist government in Catalonia made of three parties (all of them have been out of the government for 23 years). When asked about this proposal, the answer of PSC and ERC is ambigous. On the one hand, they do agree with it, but on the other hand, they do not want to rule out any kind of governmental agreement with the CIU (Convergència i Unió), the right wing Catalan nationalists who have been in the government for many years. An agreement of that kind would mean the mantainance of the kind of politics which have led to what we have mentioned before. But this is not the only scenario that worries the greens: even if CiU is not in the government, ERC and PSC could continue with this kind of right wing politics. For example, if the PSC keeps on giving its support to the water transfer of the river Ebre (a project which also has the support of the CIU government), or if ERC supports the semiprivatisation of the health system (which is exactly what the Catalan government has started to do), we will end up changing one kind of right wing politics for another (that of the supposed two left wing parties stated before).

The message that the greens are trying to send to the people of Catalonia is that the only political party which garantees a radical change of the politics performed by the Catalan government is ICV (Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds). That is to say, firstly, if the greens are in the government CIU will not be governing. Secondly, if the greens are in the government all right wing projects such as the river Ebre’s tranfer will not have a place within a new green government. Instead, we will close all the nuclear power stations in Catalonia in eight years and we will fight against the privatisation of the health system through a political plan specifically designed to erase poverty in our country (where there are about 750.000 poor people).

In short, these are the main objectives of the greens for the upcoming elections. Our proposal for a radical change in the politics of Catalonian entails putting an end to 23 years of “pujolist” regime and beginning a new political era in our country based on a left and on an ecologist government for Catalonia.

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