In Catalonia, to run a public debate between the top candidates from the province of Barcelona has become a tradition and tonight (Friday) was the big night.
For a Swede, used to multi-party system, I must say that this felt quite familiar. There were the five representatives, each eager to win the vote for their party but at the same time fully aware that, after the elections, some of them will need to co-operate in order for a government to be formed.
On face value, this was a debate between PSC (PSOE) and four opposition parties, but in reality everybody knows that incumbent PSOE can at least count on passive support from ICV-EUA, CiU and ERC in order to keep PP out of power.
The two-hour debate was held on five separate topics: social policy, economics and infrastructure, challenges for the future, Catalonia’s relationship with the Spanish state and, to conclude, a possibility for each candidate to request for the audience’s vote. Nowadays used to talk shows on Catalan and Spanish radio, where all people try to speak at the same time, I was surprised by the correct tone and the relatively limited amount of interruptions.
I cannot say that any of the representatives presented any news to their party program, respectively, so instead I prefer to make a personal reflection on the politicians.
Carme Chacón (PSC) is a fresh young face in the sitting government. She did a good job in not only asking people to vote for her, but also asking Catalonia to vote - for the sake of Spain.
J.A. Duran i Lleida (CiU) presents right-wing policies in a non-aggressive way. That we have to create wealth before we can re-distribute it certainly makes sense to me.
Joan Ridao (ERC) appeals to me with his unaffected and rational reasoning. The question is whether his reluctant potential voters, whom he needs to convince to go to the polls, see him the same way.
Dolors Nadal (PP) follows her party tactics well. They do not hope to win over voters and therefore have decided to stir doubt about PSOE’s policies to make people lose interest and stay at home on election day.
Joan Herrera (ICV-EUA) forgot to smile during the first half hour of the program and therefore lost one of his biggest assets. Then started the discussion on infrastructure and as soon as he could talk about trains, he revealed what a good debater he is.
Albert Rivera (Ciutadans/Ciutadanos) deserves to be mentioned although he was not allowed to take part today, since his party is not yet represented in Madrid. As a protest, he waited outside the TV3 studios during the debate. I do not particularly agree with his party’s program, but he obviously has a strong fighting spirit.