Party review – PSC: “Catalonia won’t bear four more years of Rajoy”
PSC is the Catalan branch of the Spanish Socialist Party, a force which has alternated in the Spanish Government with the People’s Party (PP) for the last 32 years. Their influence in Catalonia started to decline in 2010 in favour of nationalist and pro-independence parties. Now the Socialists are the third force in the Catalan Parliament and the opposition party in Spain’s Congreso de los Diputados. However, many polls claim their key position in the Spanish chamber might be overtaken by alternative-left Podemos or anti-Catalan Nationalist Ciutadans, both running for the Spanish Elections on the 20-D for the first time. PSC’s candidate for Barcelona, former Spanish Minister of Defence Carme Chacón, is convinced that the Socialists are the only guarantee “to chase Mariano Rajoy out” from the Spanish government and restore “the dialogue” between Catalonia and Spain.
Barcelona (CNA).- “Catalonia won’t bear four more years of Rajoy”, stated the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC)’s candidate for Barcelona in the Spanish Elections, Carme Chacón. The former Spanish Minister of Defence pointed to the Socialists as the only guarantee “to chase Mariano Rajoy out” from the Spanish government and restore “the dialogue” between Catalonia and Spain. According to her, there is no solution for Catalonia’s current situation if current Catalan President Artur Mas “keeps separating from the law and putting [Catalonia’s] EU membership at risk”. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has alternated in the Spanish Government with the People’s Party (PP) for the last 32 years. According to many polls, their position in Spain’s Congreso de los Diputados, where they are currently in opposition might be overtaken by alternative-left Podemos or anti-Catalan Nationalist Ciutadans, both running for the Spanish Elections on the 20-D for the first time.
Catalonia and Spain have to restore dialogue
“If change is necessary in Spain, it is indispensable in Catalonia” stated Chacón during the PSC’s press conference this Thursday at CNA headquarters. “Catalonia won’t bear four more years of Mariano Rajoy, four more years of the People’s Party and four more years of blocking dialogue between the Catalan and the Spanish institutions” she assured and lamented that lately there has been “nothing but quarrels” between both governments. “We will fight to restore the dialogue” she stated and lamented that such a lack of dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish institutions “has never been seen before”. She accused current Catalan President Artur Mas of “breaking the law” with his proposals, but also pointed to Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, as being responsible for such an “unacceptable” situation where “dialogue continues to be non-existent”.
According to her, change is possible, but only by voting Socialist, “as the other left-wing forces won’t have enough influence to chase Mariano Rajoy out”. “The Spanish Socialists altogether will” she added.
New territorial agreement for Catalonia to stay
“There won’t be light at the end of the tunnel in Catalonia if the current Catalan President Artur Mas decides to keep separating from the law, from the Rule of Law and putting our EU membership at risk” she assured. In line with this, the Socialists’ project is to reform the Spanish Constitution and improve the territorial agreement so that Catalonia won’t need to break away. “If there is a change in Spain, reforming the Constitution will be possible” she assured. “After 37 years of democracy we need deep reforms of the Constitution and it is evident to everybody that we need a new territorial agreement”. The Socialists’ proposal is to ultimately build a federal state to “alleviate the malfunction of the current autonomic state”. “We want Catalonia to vote” she stated, “to vote for a new territorial agreement” she nuanced “and we want Catalans to agree and to stay”.
Chacón admitted that such a reform “won’t be an easy nor quick process” but she emphasised the need to find “new consensus to guarantee coexistence”.
Social action plan and reforms of the tax system
Chacón also wanted to emphasise PSC’s social nature and their commitment to “alleviating the consequences of the economic crisis, worsened by the PP’s reforms”. In relation to this, she noted the party’s action plan “to fight against child poverty, energy poverty and for all those families whom are at social risk”. She announced the implementation of a “minimum vital income” to help “the 13 million people at social risk and the 3 million which are in grave conditions of poverty”.
Besides these “bold measures” there are other actions to be taken in order to “reverse the PP’s policies”, such as restoring the 15% tax to be paid by big companies, applying a fairer tax system to the citizens according to their level of income and attacking fiscal fraud, amongst others. According to Chacón, the money collected through the implementation of these fiscal reforms would allow the launching of the social action plan.
Reversing the Socialists’ decline in Catalonia
“We may have made mistakes” admitted Chacón “but Catalans know that the greatest periods for Catalonia’s autonomy took place when the Socialists where in charge of the Spanish government”. “Almost everything which has been done well in the Spanish democracy has our name on it” she assured and named “the implementation of the public and free education system, the public and free health system, the non-contributory retirement pension, the Gender Equality Act and homosexual marriage” as examples.
However, the PSC’s influence in Catalonia started to decline in 2010, after 7 years leading the Catalan government. From that moment onwards, the traditional Socialists’ voters opted for Ciutadans and those who believed that the PSC was nothing but a PSOE branch office without any sensitivity for Catalonia’s right to decide turned toward pro-independence forces. After the 27-S elections, the Socialists are the third force in the Catalan Parliament with 11 MPs in the 135-seat chamber. Despite this, Chacónexpressed her optimism regarding Catalonia’s bid for change and their will to “chase Mariano Rajoy out” from the Spanish Government. “When Catalans hit the streets in a massive way to vote for change, in the end change happens.”