Opinion 26/01/2021

Antoni Bassas' analysis: 'Voting in these elections"

The reasons why millions of Catalans, for or against independence, have rushed to the ballot boxes in recent years have not disappeared; on the contrary, they have become worse. Let each decide if all these reasons are not enough to vote

3 min

It is incomprehensible that the Catalan High Court has not yet finally decided whether the parliamentary elections will be held on 14 February or later. Of all the uncertainties we are facing, this is the most gratuitous. What more do judges need to decide? The longer they take, the more preparations will be underway and the more public money will have been spent that will have to be thrown away if they postpone it. In the meantime, there are already citizens who have been notified they have to take part in the election, and there are those who are people at risk, such as Amèlia Guilera, whose tweet we are publishing today:

Amèlia explains she is 64 and 655 days - the maximum age to work at a poll station is 65 - and is considered at risk. Yet, she has received the notification which requires her to spend all day working at the poll station on February 14.

The election campaign has to start the day after tomorrow at midnight, at a time when we have over 3,000 hospital admissions due to covid and of the total 1,500 ICU beds, 1,044 are already occupied; that is 70%. It is true that the curve is going down, but the pressure on the hospitals is going up, because we already know that hospitals experience what happens on the street three weeks late and, therefore, it will not be until after the elections (if they are on 14 February) that the number of admissions will decrease.

Nor does it help that Oxford/AstraZeneca announced last Friday that it would not meet the vaccine delivery targets agreed with the European Union. Brussels suspects AstraZeneca of secretly exporting doses to other countries when it already anticipates that it will breach its contract with the Union. That is why the Commission is demanding to know what has happened to the doses that have been financed with European funds. The result is that the vaccination campaign in Catalonia has been halted at once, the plan has to be remade and the vaccines that have arrived will be used to inoculate the second doses.

The fact that, on top of that, in the middle of this international picture, minister Illa leaves during the third wave -without giving the explanations he was due to give in Congress this month- to head the PSC list for the presidency of the Generalitat is painful.

No, these elections of February 14 (it seems) are not a popular election nor are we waiting for them with emotion, but rather with unease and a little anxiety. The decision to go and vote is always a very personal one. In these adverse circumstances, it is even more personal. Personally, I think that everyone who can must go to vote, and that the reasons why millions of Catalans, for or against independence, have rushed to the ballot boxes in recent years have not disappeared, on the contrary, they have worsened. The conflict between Catalonia and Spain has not disappeared, and it represents that all parties have a solution. For the pro-independence parties, the situation of the political prisoners is a disgrace, and that of the exiles is an injustice, as we are often reminded by European courts who ignore Spanish demands. In the midst of an impoverished and tense social panorama, with the momentum of a few years ago disappearing due to state repression and internal division, pro-independence voters are facing the latest offensive of the state: the Parliament emptied of legal force to invest Puigdemont, Sanchez or Turull, or to maintain the seat of the president Torra, the Spanish government is preparing to finish off the pro-independence majority by sending the Minister of Health to Catalonia. Let each decide if all these reasons are not enough to go and vote.

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.