Monday, 25 February 2008

The Political Parties of Catalonia - a Summary for the 2008 Elections

My wife complains that she knows more about the American primary elections than about the March 9 elections to the Spanish parliament (el Congreso de los Diputados de las Cortes Generales). For a politically interested blogger like me that is, of course, embarrassing so I have decided to sum up what the main parties stand for.

In this entry, I want to be as objective as possible, but admit to have had difficulties to select which ideas to list. In case anyone can argue that I do not correctly present a certain party, I will be happy to make changes. There will, however, be a limit to five proposals per party. The order of the parties is according to their current number of members of parliament (MPs) representing Catalonia (47 of 350 in total).

Partit Socialista de Catalunya (PSC) are the Catalan branch of PSOE and have 21 MPs. Their top candidate is Carme Chacón (Minister of Housing in the sitting government). They want to…
# Create 350.000 new jobs in the coming four years.
# Increase the minimum salary to € 800 per month and minimum pensions to € 200.
# Prolong the right to paternity leave from 2 to 4 weeks.
# Establish a anti-discrimination law against xenophobia, homophobia etc.
# Build more subsidised apartments out of which 50.000 in Catalonia.

Convergencia i Unió (CiU) are right-wing liberals and have 10 MPs. Their top candidate is Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida. They want to…
# Build respect for Catalonia and officially declare Spain to be a multinational state.
# Develop all rights and competences as set out in the autonomy charter (estatut) of Catalonia.
# Build an infrastructure of excellence to attract investments into Catalonia.
# Re-establish the value of effort, quality and respect in the school system.
# Modernise the labour market through reforms for flexicurity.

Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) are left-wing republicans and have 8 MPs. Their top candidate is Joan Ridao. They want to…
# Make Catalonia an independent “premier league” country.
# Have transparency in how much Catalonia contributes to the Spanish state budget over the taxes versus how much it receives back.
# Improve the subsidies for families with children and/or people with handicaps.
# Increase minimum salaries to 60% of the average level and improve pensions.
# Build more subsidised housing.

Partit Popular (Partido Poplular, PP) are the conservative main opposition party to the sitting PSOE government. From Catalonia, where they are relatively weak, they only have 6 MPs. Their top candidate is Dolors Nadal. They want to…
# Unite Spain into one common project to gain strength in a globalised world.
# Fight terrorism and not negotiate with separatists like ETA of the Basque Country.
# Strengthen the police and the judiciary system in order to fight crime.
# Make the labour market more dynamic to gain international competitiveness.
# Make immigrants integrate into society and put a brake on illegal immigration.

Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds – Esquerra Unida i Alternativa (ICV-EUiA) are left-wing ecologists with a Catalan perspective and have 2 MPs. In the Spanish parliament they form part of the 'United left' group (Izquierda Unida). Their top candidate is Joan Herrera. They want to…
# Carry out a ‘green’ tax reform, supporting renewable energy sources and emission cuts.
# Introduce a 35 hour work week.
# Increase the progressiveness of the Spanish tax system to reach EU15 average tax levels.
# Set up a strategic plan against climate change and develop the railway network.
# Increase minimum salaries to € 1.000 or 60% of the average salary.

Ciutadans/Ciutadanos (citizens), finally, is a new party which is represented in the Parliament of Catalonia, but not yet in Madrid. Their top candidate is Albert Rivera. They want to…
# Unite society against terrorism, regional nationalism, racism and sexism.
# Carry out an electoral reform for a more proportionate representation in the Spanish parliament.
# Decentralise local power to build citizen participation.
# Regulate the use of Spanish as the official language of the state.
# Guarantee the right to education in the mother tongue in public schools for anyone who speaks an official language.

On March 9, we expats do not have the right to vote, but these elections will have consequences for anyone who plans to live in Catalonia or the rest of Spain during the coming four years. Let us hope that our neighbours make a good choice.


Tom said...

Good summary. Thanks for the link, by the way!

Erik Wirdheim said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your encouraging comment.