Catalonia, the day after
Artur Mas began his role as future president, announcing he will collaborate with all and that his first priority is “lifting up Catalonia”. The Socialist leader José Montilla rejected his Parliamentary seat. From Madrid, the People’s Party (PP) interpreted the Catalan results as the first scene to Zapatero’s end. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is judging the defeat as a consequence of the crisis and not the PSOE’s attitude regarding the trimming of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy.
Barcelona (ACN).- The first movements have already begun in the shaping of new times. After his collapse, the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and current Catalan President, José Montilla, rejected becoming the new Leader of the Opposition. Montilla announced he will not take his Parliament seat. On Election Night yesterday he acknowledged his defeat and announced that he would not lead the PSC after the next party conference. The Catalan President to be, Artur Mas, announced that he will reduce ministries and suppress the succession tax. He also stressed his will to talk with all parties to stress the collaboration spirit. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence party (ERC) stated they would not change their leadership, despite having lost half of their seats. The People\u2019s Party (PP) emphasised from Madrid that their increase of seats and the Socialists\u2019 defeat are the first scenes to Zapatero\u2019s end. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) considers the Socialist defeat in Catalonia to be a result of the Catalan Government\u2019s lack of cohesion and not a consequence of the PSOE\u2019s attitude regarding the trimming of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Artur Mas, the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition, Convergència i Unió (CiU), started his role as the future president of the Catalan Government. He was cheered on today when arriving at the CiU headquarters in Barcelona, with supporters shouting \u201Cpresident, president!\u201D This afternoon, he gave a press conference together with the number 2 of the coalition, the leader of the Christian-Democratic Party, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida. Mas and Duran stressed CiU\u2019s will to talk with all the parties in order to build a constructive atmosphere, analysing the main issues and the challenges and exploring ways of addressing them. Mas refused to talk about concrete agreements or governing structure. He announced that he \u201Cwill make a government of the best people for each position\u201D, and not a government of \u201Cquotas\u201D. Duran stressed that Unió member Núria de Gispert will become the first woman to chair the Catalan Parliament.
The other side of the Catalan political landscape is the elections\u2019 losers. José Montilla, who is still the current Catalan President and the leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), announced that he would not take his seat in the Catalan Parliament. With this, Montilla refuses to become the Opposition Leader. He announced yesterday that he would not lead the party beyond the next Party conference, which in principle is scheduled for next autumn, but it may be advanced. The PSC got its worst results in history, passing from 37 seats in the Parliament, which was already not a very high number, to 28 seats. Another party in the Government that was severely affected by yesterday\u2019s election was the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). The ERC lost 11 seats from its previous 21. Its leader, Joan Puigcercós, announced today that the party would undergo a profound reflection and create a new document to redirect the party, maintaining the current leadership. Puigcercós became the ERC leader 2 years ago, after secessions and internal fights. The ERC suffered from internal problems and the new independence parties created. Puigcercós is confident that he will be able to address the issue in the mid-term future.
Finally, in Madrid, there was also a reaction to the Catalan Elections. However, they did it with quite a fixed speech. The People\u2019s Party (PP), which passed from 14 to 18 seats in Catalonia thanks to its speech focused on immigration control, the effects of the economic crisis and the Spanish Nationalism, considered getting 12% a huge success in Catalonia. They stated that it is the beginning of Zapatero\u2019s end. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) considered that its defeat in Catalonia is mainly related to the crisis and to the Catalan Government\u2019s bad image, a 3-party coalition that ruled Catalonia for 7 years. The PSOE affirmed that its attitude of indifference towards the trimming of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy by the Constitutional Court had nothing to do with the result. The Court\u2019s sentence was only 6 months ago and provoked one of the largest demonstrations in Barcelona, with 1.1 million people on the streets according to the police and 1.5 according to organisers.