Economic Reasons for Right to Decide

 TV3 Debate Sunday November 18th 2012

The economic reasons for the right to decide were the focus of the debate transmitted by Catalan public radio and television just a week before the elections to rge presidency of the Generalitat.

Moderator, Ramon Pellicer, organised the debate in two parts, the first of which concentrated on the relations between Catalonia and Spain and the second on policies that would deal with the crisis.

However, the ideas were mixed and the candidadates talked of social issues when referring to the Spain_Catalonia relations and sovereignty when talking about the crisis.

A debate with seven participants meant that nobody in particular had the chance to shine and furthermore the candidates were very clear about who they were competing for votes

Although Artur Mas was the target for all of the candidates, each then went on to argue specifically with his or her most direct rival apart from Mas himself, who maintained a distant presidential tone.

"A president can be on the side of his people or not, and I decided to listen to them" he said, and on the right to decide Mas was most strongly opposed by Pere Navarro and Alicia Sánchez-Camacho.

The PP and Ciutadans leaders took Pere Navarro on directly in attempt to convince the most pro-Spanish vote and Joan Herrera of ICV also competed directly with Navarro as the left-wing anti-austerity candidate.

Oriol Junqueras stated his unimistakeably pro-independence position but adopted a moderate tone, fully aware that many voters were doubting between voting ERC and Mas's majority option, whilst Alfons López Tena of Solidaritat per la Independència tried to sell himself as the best option for independence by calling CiU's sincerity into doubt.

Artur Mas, who was the one to beat as he was the clear favourite in the polls, came out very well overall.

During the first part that centred on Catalan independence, Mas managed to maintain a moderate tone whilst at the same time continually emphasising the democratic nature of the Catalan desire for a referendum whilst at the same time pointing out that an independent state would improve social conditions in Catalonia.

He also intervened more often in the section dedicated to the policies to combat the crisis and his arguments came across as credible and convincing in spite of Joan Herrera's diatribes.

On the independence question, Mas challenged Pere Navarro and Alicia Sánchez-Camacho to allow a referendum but neither of them was willing to rise to the challenge, although Navarro admitted he would support a referendum under the same conditions as Scotland.

At which point, Sánchez-Camacho accused the PSC leader of not wanting to defend a Catalonia that is part of Spain.

One novelty was that the leaders of the three unionists parties, PP, PSC and Ciutadans, all admitted the need to reform the Spanish state with Navarro focussing on the sovereignty issue, Camacho on placing limits on solidarity and Rivera wanting "to reform Spain rather than destroy it".

In the polite debate between Junqueras and Mas, the Esquerra Republican candidate concluded that "negotiating with Spain doesn't make much sense because in the best possible scenario, they'll trick us".

The debate also made it clear that none of the candidates gave any credit to the smear campaign led by the Madrid newspaper El Mundo against Artur Mas.

Obviously, neither Navarro nor Camacho nor Rivera nor López Tena, who had been accusing Mas of corruption all the previous week, had the guts to do so to his face.

At the end of the session, Mas, Junqueras and Herrera left the studio together and someone made a joke about a new Tripartit.

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