dimecres, 29 d’abril de 2015

SPAIN' DIRTY TRICKS IN CATALAN LOCAL ELECTIONS*

Both Spain’s main parties, People Party and Socialist Party, again are using dirty tricks in Catalonia local elections, to celebrate  in May, 24th. Facing an electoral downfall, to the profit of Catalan pro-independence parties, they try to minimise it by creating ghosts lists in a number of small localities where they have no local candidates.
By “ghost list” it is understood an electoral candidature formed entirely by people who has no relation with the community they want to represent. In some cases, candidates are from Madrid or other Spanish regions, hundreds of kilometres away from Catalonia.
This is not illegal, strictly speaking, but shows a lack of rooting of both parties in the Catalan rural areas. Also, they profit from economic and political rewards, since they obtain public money from every vote received and also those votes count in order to elect provincial representatives that rule provincial governments, known as Diputacions.  In many provinces, Diputacions are the jewel of the crown in terms of economic resources. Its rulers are elected not by citizens directly, but precisely by local authorites (mayors and counciliors). By the way, heading a provincial Diputació is an excellent passport to opt for Spain-wide positions (as for exemple, a ministery).
It is estimated that about 27% of both parties lists are in fact ghosts lists. This is a major scandal in Catalonia. In the case of the Socialist party, ghosts lists also serve to hide the dramatic reduction of local candidatures, about 205 less, they present in comparison with the previous local elections in 2011.
Catalonia has more than 900 locals governments. Most of them are, of course, small ones, of less than 200 citizens. Pro-Independence parties are well rooted in a large number of them, and also in the rest. On the contrary, Spain main parties, only have proper lists in medium or large ones.
Interestingly, once all local lists have been validated, we now known that pro-independence lists will prevail before the vote in at least 200 municipalities, since there is no alternative (i.e. pro-Spain) list there. In the remaining 700, the fight also is clearly in favour to pro-independence lists. Only in a bunch of major local governments the outcome is uncertain. But of course, they represent a very important fraction of the total population of Catalonia. 
These locals elections in Catalonia have become a key event in the perspective of the Catalan Elections to celebrate in September 27h. Those elections are considered by pro-independence parties as a plebiscite for Independence. Because of Spanish government is completely opposed to celebrate a Referendum for Catalonia Independence, we independentists consider that the only way left for Catalans to implement our right to choose is to turn a parliamentary election into a “plebiscitarian election”.
In this sense, pro-independence parties consider local governments key allies in the process towards independence.
On the contrary, those in favour of keeping Catalonia under Spain domination, have made very clear that they will use, in case they rule them, local governments to boycott it.
*(NOTE: First published here)

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