Elections cannot be held in February
BarcelonaThe Government will decide this Friday in all probability to postpone the elections that were scheduled for February 14 and will try to agree on a new date with all the parties. Even the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which in the last hours had defended maintaining the call, has understood that the epidemiological situation, with the pandemic running rampant, does not allow the elections to be held. The truth is that, in order to be able to hold them reducing the risk of contagion as much as possible, a series of legislative changes would have had to have been made, some at a state level (for example, permitting mobile ballot boxes or allowing the vote to take place over several days), which have not been done, and therefore we can now regret it very much, but there is no more time. Right now, maintaining the call to vote on the scheduled date would be truly irresponsible.
Not only because of the obvious epidemiological risk, especially in the case of the members of the poll stations, for whom not even vaccination could be guaranteed, but also because the prevailing climate of fear would undoubtedly have led to a very significant drop in participation. Furthermore, this abstention would have been differential, since it is logical that certain sectors of the population, those belonging to risk groups such as the elderly, would be more afraid to go and vote. This fact in itself already raises serious doubts about the legitimacy of an outcome that could have been affected by this fact. And this is without going into the fact of how to resolve the vote of those infected or in isolation, who were deprived of their right to vote in the Basque and Galician elections.
Therefore, there is no need to go any further. We must seek a new date that meets two requirements: the first is that it far enough away from February 14 to allow for a reduction in cases and the adoption of necessary measures to ensure a vote with the maximum guarantees; and secondly, that it extends the current government's term in office as little as possible. Everyone knows that the current situation is not the ideal context for managing a health crisis or the enormous challenges that the country has to face in the immediate future. The idea of postponing the elections to May, or in any case to before the summer, could fulfil these two requirements.
What is totally unheard of is that the party that is presenting Salvador Illa as a candidate, the current health minister, insists on moving five million people to vote in one day with the risk that this entails, or that it defends that the elections can also be held in March, while all the experts place the beginning of the improvement beyond April. Perhaps they fear that the Illa effect will end, or that the minister will be worn down by the effects of the third wave? It is not acceptable to put electoral interests ahead of health interests.
The Catalan authorities must be aware, however, that a second postponement would not be admissible. As of today, all the scenarios must be prepared so that citizens can vote with guarantees in May or as soon as possible, because the country also needs the elections to break the current impasse.