Spanish Government accuses Catalan President of calling early elections “to hide his ineffectiveness”
The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, strongly criticised the calling of early elections in Catalonia, announced by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for 27 September as a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence. Sáenz de Santamaría stated that such a call shows Mas’ “failure” and his “incapacity” to run a government. She also said that the Catalan President is announcing elections 8 months in advance “to hide his ineffectiveness”. Besides this, the Spanish Deputy PM warned Catalan authorities that any measures adopted in the coming months that exceed Catalonia’s self-rule powers will be taken to the Constitutional Court.
Barcelona (ACN).-The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, strongly criticised the calling of early elections in Catalonia, announced by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for 27 September as a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence from Spain. On Friday, after the weekly Cabinet Meeting, Sáenz de Santamaría stated that this electoral call shows Mas’ “failure” and his “incapacity” to run a government, similar words to those used by the Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, a day previous. Furthermore, she said that the Catalan President is announcing elections 8 months in advance “to hide his ineffectiveness”. Besides this, the Spanish Deputy PM warned the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC that any measures adopted in the coming months that exceed Catalonia’s self-rule powers will be taken to the Constitutional Court for cancellation. She was referring to the agreement between the CiU and the ERC to develop in the coming months the basic state structures, such as Catalonia’s own tax administration and social security system, in order to be ready to build an independent state, if a majority of Catalans want this.
Sáenz de Santamaría accused Mas of “making Catalans waste their time” with “three elections in 5 years”, referring to the regular elections of November 2010, the early ones held in November 2012, and those of September 2015. “When a ruler permanently uses this system it is because he is incapable of running a government”, she said. Furthermore, she criticised the calling of early elections now, as the economic recovery is starting and “it needs active governments” and stability.
Ironically, Sáenz de Santamaría said she was “lost” because after weeks of discussion over early elections and pro-independence parties running together or separately, in what they call “plebiscitary elections”, she still does “not know clearly what this means”. According to her, the next elections will “only be elections run in an Autonomous Community”, in which citizens elect their representatives. “Each party will run with the programme they consider right, and citizens will assess them, as they will also assess these 5 years in which nothing has been done but talking about elections”.
Besides this, Sáenz de Santamaría also stated that the Spanish Government “will continue to guarantee the public services” in Catalonia. “One thing is having a president who is incapable of managing a government correctly, but it is another thing if the citizens have to pay the consequences for such lack of activity”, insisted the Deputy PM, depicting a Catalan Government that has not done anything but talk about independence and elections.
Catalans’ pensions are paid “thanks to the solidarity of all Spaniards”
On top of this, the Spanish Minister for Employment, Fátima Báñez, who was also present at the press conference, criticised the construction of a Catalan Social Security system. According to her, “the single box” that pays for the pensions of all Spaniards “has been the guarantee for the pensions of Catalans”. In the last few years “Catalans had their pensions paid, and received better pensions” than previous years, “thanks to the solidarity of all Spaniards”. Otherwise, the Catalan pensions system would have posted a €3 billion deficit, she said, suggesting that an independent Social Security system for Catalonia would not be viable.
However, Báñez made no mention of the enormous deficit that the entire Spanish pension system has been posting these last few years, during the economic crisis, generating huge public deficit and wasting part of the Social Security’s savings of the last decades. This is because it is a redistribution system, with the current workforce paying the pensions currently being paid out. However, the number of contributors to the Social Security was dropping during the crisis, while the number of people receiving pensions was increasing. She also forgot to mention that, in the pre-crisis years, Catalans contributed much more to the Social Security system than the pensions they received, a situation that lasted for decades.