Misc 11/01/2021

Antoni Bassas's analysis: "Should the elections be suspended?"

Voting by mail is a great help, but it doesn't ensure everyone's right to vote. What if you've tested positive after February 4th, when you can no longer vote by mail and can't go to the ballot box because you're positive?

2 min

This week may bring us some very important news: the suspension of the elections on February 14. When will we know? Well, after the next Procicat meeting, scheduled for the end of this week, just one month before the election date.

In the epidemiological and health community in general there is a lot of concern about the situation of the pandemic in Catalonia.

For example, Dr Magda Campins, head of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, declared on Saturday TV3's FAQs that "it is not responsible to keep February 14th as the date for the elections". "We will be worse off," she said.

According to the latest balance sheet of the Health Department, there are 2,356 people admitted to Catalan hospitals. There are 458 critical patients in ICUs. In the last week 288 people have died. The week in which we went from 2020 to 2021 there were 18,822 cases, 36% more than the previous week. And the Health Department confirmed on January 6th the first case of a person infected with the British variant of covid-19. It is a person who lives in Catalonia and who had travelled to the United Kingdom.

In short, there is fear of the saturation of primary care centres and hospitals, especially ICUs, and the danger that patients with non-urgent pathologies who remain untreated now may end up becoming urgent later on.

Next Friday, with Procicat's pronouncement, the Government and political parties will have to decide whether to maintain the date of 14 February and, if they postpone the elections, set a new date which, logically, would have to be at least a month or a month and a half later.

For the time being, preparations for the elections continue. Today in the ARA we published an advertisement in which, in view of the health situation, requesting a postal vote is recommended. It is the same recommendation that Dr Argimon made a few days ago: vote by mail. (And, by the way, vote by mail without fear of electoral fraud).

But, although voting by mail is a great help, it does not ensure the right to vote for everyone. Every day thousands of people test positive for covid-19 and, logically, they can't leave their homes. What if you tested positive after February 4, when you can no longer vote by mail and can't go to the ballot box because you're positive? Therefore, the decision taken depends on the epidemiological situation, but it also has to take into account the legal problems arising from the need to ensure the right to vote for everyone. All these problems would be solved if we could vote electronically. We are in the 21st century, in 2021 to be precise, but the option of electronic voting seems far away.

Until now, the parties wanted to hold the elections on February 14. Think that we have no president and the Parliament is dissolved. It is not convenient to continue in this provisional situation. But now there is each party's calculations. And this is where the PSC seems to be in a hurry to capitalise on the Salvador Illa effect and bring the impact of their candidate to the polls. All this is a labyrinth. But it's a question of not being worse off than we are.

Our recognition for those who work on the front line, a thought for those who suffer, for political prisoners, for exiles, and may we have a good day.