Cuadernos Editor’s Note on general elections

08/04/2019

The general election campaign is based on two certainties that seem to be ignored lately. The first of these certainties is that the economic and political bid of the PSOE and Pedro Sánchez is an elaborate imposture that reflects -repeated as a farce- the extremism, territorial disintegration and economic collapse brought to Spain by his predecessor, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Although it is hard to believe, we were also told in 2008 that there was money, and the Socialists made the commitment to full employment, their big campaign compromise during that legislature. Apparently-prudent public figures, such as the Minister of Economy at the time, Pedro Solbes, endorsed the successive rounds of unsustainable public spending. Barely two years later, and only a few days after the socialist government denied the existence of any crisis for the umpteenth time, Rodríguez Zapatero was forced to appear before Congress to announce an in extremis harsh budgetary adjustment demanded by the world's major economies, because Spain, again under a socialist mandate, had become an extreme systemic risk to the international economy. We know what came next, and those who have forgotten will soon receive – because we will all do- a friendly reminder if Sánchez remains in the presidency of the Government.     

Now we are once again faced with another round of equally unsustainable electioneering public expenditure, in the midst of a slowdown in the economy, and with the prospect of generalized tax rises if there is a socialist government after April 28th. However, the government's rowdiness to accompany the announcement of supposedly social spending becomes a sepulchral silence when it comes to Catalonia. Sánchez wants to turn Catalonia into the elephant in the room, even though we know that this is a crucial political problem for the rights of millions of fellow citizens in that community, crucial for the future of the constitutional system and the historical continuity of Spain.

You have to turn to Miquel Iceta in order to find out what the official silence of the PSOE really hides. If the independence was to have the support of 65% of the Catalans, says Iceta, then a mechanism would have to be set in motion in order to make it possible. With this statement, Iceta outlines the formula that the left is developing to satisfy the pro-independentists, which consists of the political recognition of Catalonia's self-determination and the commitment to negotiate its articulation in the future; for example, when it can be said that 65% of the Catalans are pro-independence Evidently, there is no such right of self-determination in the case of Catalonia, and furthermore, if there were such a right, being a fundamental right, its recognition would not depend on any percentage. This is what leads us to assume the nationalist fallacy and the attempt to disguise it as someone's own interest.

The other certainty of this campaign to which we refer, is placed in front of the socialists, but it is axiomatic. If the vote on the left is concentrated and the vote in the center and the right is dispersed, this fragmentation will fatally pave the way for the Frankenstein coalition to Moncloa. Ciudadanos seems to be dedicated to cultivating their millimetrically  limited hinge ambition, while Vox faces the April 28th elections as the primaries of the right, where they hope to displace the Partido Popular and its leadership in order to position themselves in the electoral space, rather than as a critical election to decide who governs Spain. Hence the insistence in their derogatory messages towards the Partido Popular, their stirring campaign, their eagerness to try to convince voters to retroactively punish a PP that Pablo Casado has overcome and renewed, and last but not least, their refusal -as has also happened with Ciudadanos- to reach reasonable agreements that would ensure the efficiency of the votes, all of them. This way, Vox drags a sector of the right to lose its ambition for a majority, and to fight uncertain and misplaced cultural battles – may be the case of the arms an example- at the cost of effectively renouncing to the dispute for power. Hence, this is the real anti-politics that will be put to the test on April 28th.

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