Party review: ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ (‘Catalonia Yes we can’), a new alternative left-wing coalition
Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV and alternative left-wing Podem (the Catalan branch of the Spanish party Podemos),running under the name 'Catalunya Sí que es Pot' (in English, 'Catalonia yes we can'), is a new party designed to run in the 27-S Catalan elections. Its leader, Lluís Rabell, comes from the social and neighbourhood community scene and claims to be the voice of “the social majority that is being silenced by the independence debate” in Catalonia. Regarding Catalonia’s push for independence, ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ is for “the celebration of an agreed consultation which can be recognised internationally” and, in order to have this, they find it indispensable to “overthrow the Conservative People’s Party (PP) in Spain”.
Barcelona (CNA).- ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ (in English, ‘Catalonia yes we can’) aims to be the alternative left-wing coalition which represents “the social majority that is being silenced by the independence debate” in Catalonia. According to its leader, Lluís Rabell, the priority is to “overthrow the Conservative Peoples’s Party (PP) in Spain”, which has ran the government since 2011, and be able to celebrate “an agreed consultation which can be recognised internationally”. ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ is a new entity but has consolidated forces amongst its members, such as ICV, which was in the three-party coalition government which ran Catalonia from 2003 to 2007, and alternative left-wing Podem, the Catalan branch of the Spanish party Podemos, represented in Barcelona by the coalition led by Ada Colau ‘Barcelona en Comú’, which won the last local elections in the Catalan capital.
A hinge party
Although ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ is a new coalition, many polls point to them as a ‘hinge party’ that could be decisive after the 27-S elections. “We are not in the ‘Yes’ or in the ‘No’ block”, said Rabell when asked about his position regarding Catalonia’s push for independence. In the event of a pro-independence forces victory, Rabell said that they would mistrust a government led by Artur Mas, as CiU “endorsed” many economic and social politics that “devastated our country on the social level”. “We want a progressive government to rule the Generalitat after the 27-S” said Rabell. However, he also emphasised that they are part of the “democratic regeneration” against those parties who show “hostile attitudes towards Catalonia”, naming the PP, but also anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (which he called “the PP with a facelift”) and even the Catalan Socialist Party PSC. “We stand against any authoritarian or arbitrary action against the rights and freedoms of Catalonia”.
First of all, an agreed-upon and internationally recognised referendum
Regarding Catalonia’s push for independence, ‘Catalunya Sí que s Pot’ centres the debate on the celebration of a referendum “agreed with Spain, and therefore recognised both by Spain and internationally”. “We’d like to mirror the Scottish example because the success in Scotland lay in the celebration of the referendum itself” stated Rabell and added that “with this alone, they achieved international recognition, better self-government conditions and the chance to hold another referendum whenever they think it will be suitable”. When asked about the Spanish government denying the opportunity to celebrate a referendum, Rabell insisted on the persistent attitude of the party he represents “we come from the labour movement, therefore we don’t expect things to happen; we aim to generate the suitable conditions to achieve our goals”. Following on from this, he outlined their determination to “overthrow the PP in Spain” and their bid for a “more sensitive partner in Spain to deal with our demands”.
How to fit into the EU
Catalonia’s independence debate is gaining presence internationally and many leaders and institutions worldwide have expressed their opinions on the issue. Regarding Catalonia’s fit within the EU in the event of becoming an independent country, Rabell forecast that the relationship would depend on “the way independence is obtained”. “It appears it would be difficult to stay within the EU after a Unilateral Declaration of Independence” he stated, adding that “if it is through a referendum, agreed and recognised by the Spanish government and the international community, then the procedures to form a new country could begin”. He emphasised that the “least abrupt way to resolve this question is through the celebration of a referendum, because it has international recognition”.
Overthrowing the PP
‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ is focusing its campaign for the 27-S elections on giving voice to the “social majority” that is being eclipsed by the independence debate in Catalonia. According to its leader, Lluís Rabell, whose career has been linked to the social and neighbourhood community scene, most of the economic and social problems that Catalonia faced and is still facing are due to “the PP government in Spain”. At a press conference held this Thursday at CNA headquarters, Rabell emphasised “the necessity” of overthrowing the PP government so that the “social breakup” of Catalonia can be undone. He also recalled that many economic policies that led to privatisations and cuts were led by the PP and “endorsed by the CiU government” in Catalonia.