Catalonia Calling #11 marks the start of the Spanish General Election Campaign, which given the current lack of agreement between Junts pel Sí and the CUP is more important than many of us had hoped. From a pro-independence point of view, these are the last Spanish elections that the Catalans will be participating in and it's still important for Catalonia to have representatives in Congress and Senate to negotiate the Republic's democratic disconnection from the rest of Spain.
This will be a relatively short episode in which I give a brief overview of each of the Catalan candidates for the Spanish General Elections. I can't say that the circus inspires me very much, but here goes anyway.
My vote would almost certainly go to Gabriel Rufián, who is number one on the list for Esquerra Republicana, where he is backed up by Joan Tardà and accompanied by Santiago Vidal as candidate for the Senate.
Rufián is a great choice in my opinion. He's only 33 and has recently come up through of Súmate, the Spanish-speaking pro-independence group. He has a very paused thoughtful way of speaking, which perhaps makes him seem a bit too serious but this is easily outweighed that he's a working-class Spanish-speaking lad from Santa Coloma de Gramenet, so hopefully he should attract plenty of Spanish-speaking voters to Esquerra.
Francesc Homs is the candidate for Democràcia i Llibertat, which is the coalition formed by Convergència, the Unió breakaway party Democrates and Reagrupament. He's former spokesperson for the Presidency and forms part of Artur Mas's inner circle. Many people find him a bit aggressive but he definitely has all the qualities needed to defend the Catalan corner in negotiations with Madrid.
I tend to favour Gabriel Rufián but Francesc Homs comes a very close second and I could easily plump for him on voting day.
Xavier Domènech is the candidate the Catalan Podemos franchise that has the backing of Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau as well as Iniciativa, Procés Constituent and other left-wing fence sitting groups. What's sad is that they're quite nice really and in different circumstances I might even be tempted to vote for them. However, their promise of allow Catalans to vote in a referendum is just pie in the sky. Podemos will be really lucky to get even 20% of the vote and the legal and constitutional changes needed to allow Catalans to hold a referendum require a 66% majority in Congress so there's absolutely no chance of it happeng.
The problem with En Comú Podem is that they attract left-wingers and Spanish speakers away from the pro-independence parties. A completely wasted vote in my opinion.
It's pretty incredible putting Duran i Lleida as the fourth most likeable candidate but at least he doesn't hate Catalonia completely. What's more I'd be very surprised if anyone voted for him. Unió's break with Convergència last June was a massive tactical mistake and all the party's proposals of a middle way between independence and centralism sound very empty.
Let's hope this is the last time Duran's stupid and annoying face ever appears on our television screens.
As candidate for the anti-Catalan Ciutadans party, I suppose I should hate Juan Carlos Girauta as much as I hate Albert Rivera and Inés Arrimadas but he actually comes across as quite a pleasant sincere guy. He used to appear regularly on Josep Cuní's 8 al Dia current affairs programme before becoming an MEP for Ciutadans in 2014 so he expresses himself quite well. Unfortunately, I disagree with absolutely everything that he and his party stands for.
Ciudadanos could well end up participating in government alongside Partido Popular.
Decing which of the last two candidates I find most loathsome is quite difficult. Carme Chacón was Minister of Defence for PSOE in Zapatero's government and stood for party leadership against Rubalcaba. The only thing I can think of to say about her is .... teeth and insincerity.
PSC-PSOE's talk of a federal Spain is just utter and complete bullshit. It would also need 66% of Congress to vote in favour, which is never going to happen, because most of the PSOE members from other parts of Spain wouldn't even vote in favour of it. Everything that ever comes out of Carme Chacón's mouth is complete and utter drivel and very much in the of PSC mediocrity.
ctually, the fact that I find Jorge Fernández Díaz the most hateful of the candidates should have been a no brainer. He is Mariano Rajoy's Minister of the Interior and there is a dreary greyness to him that smacks of good old traditional Francoist values. He represents a Spain that really should have disappeared in the Transition to Democracy but lives on in Franco's Partido Popular heirs.
Jorge Fernànde Díaz has actually described the Valle de los Caidos, the Valley of the Fallen, where Franco, Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera and fascist-nationalist civil war victims are buried as "a spiritual place, where I often go to pray". Nuff said.
Anyway that's it from me this week. As you can see the elections don't inspire me too much but they seem to be the next hurdle we have to face.
Visca el Barça! Visca Catalunya!
Look after yourselves!