13/02/2021

Votes to face pandemic and democratic crisis

2 min
Arrival of electoral material at the Mercado del Muñeco for the 14F elections

More than five and a half million Catalans are called to the polls this Sunday in an exceptional election marked by a global pandemic and economic crisis and by the existence, despite the democratic framework, of political prisoners and exiles. The sum of these two factors makes this 14-F election to decide the Catalan Parliament the strangest in the history of democracy. Moreover, the date has been imposed, against the criteria of the Government and the medical community, by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, which did not accept the planned postponement. An election called by the judges is therefore another distorting factor. And we can add yet another element of complexity resulting from the convulsive and unstable political panorama of the last decade, with an unstable party system, pending definition: the existence of nine formations with possibilities of obtaining representation in the Parc de la Ciutadella. 

All of this makes today's election more uncertain than ever. The polls suggest a low turnout and a very close result, both among the parties vying for victory (ERC, JxCat and PSC) and among the other parties (Cs, ECP, CUP, Vox and PP). Added to this uncertainty is the unknown factor of PDECat, which aspires to spring a surprise.

What seems incontestable is that victory, whoever it may be for, will not allow anyone to govern alone. The exercise of democratic realism will make it necessary to seek pacts and consensus in order to move the country forward. Therefore, a great deal of intelligence and humility will be needed to lead the victory, which, however legitimate it may be - and it is not a question of disputing it, far from it - will only have a small fragment of the citizenry behind it if, as everything suggests, there is an undesirably low turnout and a high dispersion of the vote. 

Therefore, given the critical moment the country is going through, with the extremely serious pandemic crisis (which includes health, economic and social crises) and the no less worrying democratic crisis (with persistent repression that now goes beyond independence), we must ask the political establishment for the utmost responsibility in managing results that may be complex and that should not lead to a repetition of the elections. And, with regard to the citizens, we must ask them, despite their disappointments and weariness, and despite the logical fears of covid, not to give up exercising their right to vote, which is, after all, the most direct way we all have of strengthening the democratic system and, ultimately, the country. Not to vote is to give up, to abandon one's voice. We cannot afford it.