The Minister of Home Affairs defends that elections should be held on 14 February "but not at any price"
He is already the second JxCat Minister to question the election date due to covid
BarcelonaOn December 22, the legislature will be dissolved due to the impossibility of swearing in a replacement for President Quim Torra, who has been unable to perform his duties since September 28th. All political parties are already preparing their lists and their electoral programmes for the elections scheduled for February 14th, which will be marked by the fight against covid-19. The electoral date responds to the automatic countdown that has already begun, but this week two JxCat Ministers have called it into question, precisely because of the consequences the third wave of the pandemic may have in February. The last to do so was the Minister of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, who explained in an interview in El suplement on Catalunya Ràdio that he wants the elections to be held - "but not at any price".
If in February the speed of transmission of the virus is "out of control" - he has spoken of a 1.5 or 1.6 - and the hospitals are "totally full", the situation would mean that "the right to vote would be damaged". A few days ago it was the Minister for the Presidency and spokesperson of the Generalitat, Meritxell Budó, who questioned the date of the elections: "We must be very clear on the fact that an election must guarantee everyone's right to vote. If this cannot be guaranteed, I don't know if they can be held", she said in an interview with RTVE Catalunya.
Budó's words generated surprises in ERC - the party that has competence over the electoral procedure. The office of Participació Ciutadana i Processos Electorals, in charge of the election process, has been working for months on a plan to ensure that the elections are held and to avoid people being restricted in their right to vote because they are infected or in compulsory lockdown - as it occurred in Galicia and the Basque Country last summer. Republican sources guarantee that there is no reason to believe that the elections will not be held.
The criticism went further, and much of the opposition joined in. The harshest came from the president of the comuns group in the Parlament, Jessica Albiach, who called out Budó's attitude for being "irresponsible". PSC spokesperson Eva Granados demanded that the government "stop making experiments" and guarantee the right to vote for everyone; and the CUP urged the government to hold the elections "as soon as possible". The PP was not surprised by Budó's statements and sources explained that its leader, Alejandro Fernández, has already warned on different occasions that JxCat wants to stop the elections. Finally, the main party of the opposition, Ciutadans, stressed that if the elections have to be postponed, it will be decided "by consensus of all parties and with the approval of the Electoral Board", and not "in accordance with the vertigo JxCat has because of the polls".