PSC: the conciliatory unionist approach
Q&A on Miquel Iceta’s party, its decline, and recovery
What is the PSC?
This election cycle promises to be better for the Catalan Socialist Party (Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya or PSC). Its ideology is squarely in social democracy, and it’s put much of the spotlight on its leader, Miquel Iceta. Indeed, Iceta is the moto itself: “Solutions! Now, Iceta!” While it’s had fewer years in power in Catalonia as a whole, it’s held massive sway over the capital, governing up for 3 decades until recently, and has run almost uncontested in smaller towns in the Barcelona metro area.
Who is its leader?
Iceta’s presence in the campaign is no accident. He’s seen as having brought new life to the party, and is set to halt the PSC’s nonstop decline since the late ‘90s. Many of the supporters focus on the party leader as the solution: he’s seen as an experienced politician, and his affable approach has solidified the party’s stance as one of compromise. “We don’t want a country guided by division and hate,” proclaimed Iceta at a recent political campaign event in Rubí, “but instead by brotherhood and cheer.”
“We don’t want a country guided by division and hate, but instead by brotherhood and cheer"
Miquel Iceta · Catalan Socialists leader
How did they do in the preceding term?
Part of what make PSC members so eager for a new face is the steady decline in votes and party seats over the years. While in 1999, they won a hefty 52 seats. Each election cycle they lost more and more, culminating in the last 2015 election, when the Socialists garnered a mere 16 votes, the least they had ever won. But, this is set to change, according to polls.
What do the polls say?
Some polls predict the Socialists getting between 20 and 25 seats in the Parliament, although these are among the more optimistic. Others, predict the PSC potentially losing voters to another unionist party, the recent newcomers Ciutadans (Cs).
For or against independence?
The Socialist party is indeed firmly against Catalan independence. It voted for the implementation of Article 155 from the Spanish Government seizing Catalonia’s autonomy as a measure to counter independence. It also walked out in protest during the voting on the Declaration of Independence in the Catalan Parliament on October 27. It did so, in fact, along with two other unionist parties: Ciutadans and the People’s Party(PPC). However, the PSC is the only left-leaning one of the three, putting it in a delicate position. Since the end of October, it has wavered on its alliance with Cs and PPC, even flat-out denying it would back a Cs or PPC Catalan presidency.
The PSC has been focusing on other political elements other than the independence roadmap for its campaign. For example, it recently proposed a federalist tax system which would grant Catalonia more autonomy, although this was immediately rejected by Spanish president Mariano Rajoy. In all, the Socialist Party is eager to move on from the pro and anti-independence narrative that’s been dominating the election cycle. Whether voters feel the same, is yet to be seen.