From “Go get 'em” to “spectre of fascism”: parties’ gaffes on electoral campaign

Candidates have taken part in many electoral events and made some statements that they wish they hadn't


The leader of People's Party, Xavier García Albiol (center), with other party leaders (by Maria Belmez)
The leader of People's Party, Xavier García Albiol (center), with other party leaders (by Maria Belmez) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 19, 2017 02:04 PM

Candidates of the main political parties in Catalonia have taken part in an intense and unusual electoral campaign. They participated in interviews, debates and campaign rallies and made some statements that they’d like to forget.

ERC and Ciutadans’ candidates fail to respond to unemployment rate

In a TV debate, the candidates of the two parties in the run-up for winning the Dec 21 election —pro-independence ERC and unionists Ciutadans— failed to respond correctly to what the unemployment rate is in Catalonia. This was the first question that the anchor asked Ciutadans leader Inés Arrimadas and Marta Rovira, ERC’s leader in absence of imprisoned vice president Oriol Junqueras.

“I think it’s around 19-20%,” said Arrimadas, and added that the figure depends on the model used to measure it. Rovira said these figures were correct. The actual rate is 12,5%. The two candidates also didn't know the number of refugees hosted by Catalonia, nor the number of women killed by their partners in the country in 2017. While Arrimadas was able to respond correctly to how many children studied in modular school buildings, Rovira was not.

CeC: leader fails to respond number of evictions

Arrimadas and Rovira’s failure to respond correctly prompted criticism from their rivals. In an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1, the leader of Catalonia in Common - Podem, Xavier Domènech, denounced their lack of knowledge. Nevertheless, when the anchor asked him about the number of evictions in Catalonia in 2017, he admitted that he didn’t know. “I don’t know it. I know that Catalonia is the autonomous community with the most eviction and corruption cases, but I don’t know the exact number,” said Domènech.

CeC: pro-independence parties “reawakened the spectre of fascism”

The mistakes made by Catalonia in Common (CeC) not only come from its Catalan leaders. At a campaign rally in Sant Adrià del Besòs, near Barcelona, the secretary general of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, accused the pro-independence parties of having “reawakened the spectre of fascism”. That day, Iglesias took part in the campaign rally to back the candidacy including the Catalan branch, En Comú Podem. “Without realizing it, perhaps they contributed to awakening the spectre of fascism,” he stated.

ERC: “Unilateral ways is a Spanish invention”

In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, the candidate for pro-independence party ERC Marta Rovira said that “the unilateral way is a Spanish invention.” Before this statement, unionist parties had accused Puigdemont’s executive of having chosen the unilateral way to achieve independence and without engaging in dialogue with the Spanish government.  

Ciutadans: same party, different proposals

In an interview broadcast on Catalan public TV, the anchor asked the leader of unionist Ciutadans, Inés Arrimadas, which linguistic model they propose for the Catalan education system. “We want a system with three working languages: English, Catalan and Spanish,” she responded.

After Arrimadas’ response, the anchor reminded her that her party voted against a Valencian government’s proposal that precisely suggested a system with three working languages. “Why did the Ciutadans party in Valencia vote against this plan when it was proposed by the Valencian government?” asked the anchor. “I don’t know. I don’t know the plan that they proposed,” said Arrimadas.