Illa proposes to reduce his salary by 30% if he is 'president'

In a debate on the SER, Aragonès insists on a head-to-head with Illa, while Borràs demands a "threesome"

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Núria Orriols Guiu i Cesc Maideu
4 min
Salvador Illa in a PSC campaign event

Socialist candidate Salvador Illa has announced this Friday in a debate on the SER between all the candidates except PP and Vox that if he becomes president of the Generalitat he will reduce his salary by 30%, since he believes that it is excessive. "It is a proposal to be with the people," said the former Socialist minister, despite the fact that the Socialists recently voted against a CUP proposal, along with JxCat and ERC, in the Parliament that sought to reduce all senior officials' salary by 14%. The socialist presidential candidate has proposed equalising the salary of the president of the Generalitat to the president of the Basque Country, that is, to go from the €153,235.50 to €105,825.58 per year.

JxCat candidate Laura Borràs replied to Illa's proposal by demanding that the Royals' allowance be cut instead, with a special reference to "king on the run" Juan Carlos I. The confrontations between Illa and Borràs di not finish there, since the JxCat candidate has reproached the socialists for their management of the pandemic in the State and the lack of aid to the economic sectors affected by the pandemic, something that the ERC candidate, Pere Aragonès, has also done. Borràs has vindicated the performance of ex president Quim Torra in the first wave of the pandemic, affirming that he was ahead of the decisions the Ministry of Health took. "You voted against all states of alarm," Illa lamented about JxCat, adding: "Mr Torra is no longer here, Laura." This annoyed Borràs, who demanded that he address her by her surname as he does "with the rest of the candidates", and has replied that Torra is not at the head of the Government because he was disqualified for "defending freedom of expression".

What JxCat and ERC have avoided, however, in this debate have been mutual criticism, since Borràs has not reproached him for supporting the state budget - as Carles Puigdemont did, blaming ERC also for the lack of aid - and Aragonès did not mention Borràs's open case in the Supreme Court.

Laura Borràs, JxCat candidate, at an event in Reus

The head-to-head and the threesome

As already happened in the debate on TVE, Aragonès insisted in the course of the debate on the SER in debating Socialist candidate, Salvador Illa, alone. Illa says he has no problems confronting ideas with anybody, but avoided being more specific. In fact, he has admitted that "he does not want to privilege" any candidacy and that there are other political formations that do not agree with ERC's approach. Said and done, Borràs raised her arm lamenting an "excess of testosterone" and claiming a three-way debate between the Socialists, ERC and JxCat was needed, because all three lead the polls.

"I want the face to face to defend two models that confront each other," Aragonès defended, while Carlos Carrizosa, from Ciudadanos, has sown doubt about a possible pact between socialists and ERC after the elections. "ERC and Socialists do not want to a head-to-head, but a 'hand-in-hand', they already have agreed on everything ," he said.

ERC candidate, Pere Aragonès, on Wednesday.

Throughout the debate, Carrizosa has made it clear that he will support the constitutionalist presidential candidate that allows to push the pro-independence parties out of the administration, and has urged Salvador Illa to commit to the same. On the possible investiture of the socialist, the pro-independence parties have also demanded that he commits not to accept the votes of far-right Vox, which has been willing to support him. "They don't have to give me any lesson on this," the Socialist has replied. "Vox wants to put me in prison," he added. "Oriol Junqueras is already in prison due to Vox's popular accusation," retorted Pere Aragonès

Agreement for more investment and disagreements over public-private collaboration

The debate began with proposals on health and the coronavirus crisis and at this point all the formations have been willing to invest more in health resources over the next parliamentary term. JxCat and Esquerra have pledged to invest more than €5bn in this area, although they have not clarified where the money would come from. Only Ciudadanos has shown itself to be clearly in favour of initiating a reform of the autonomous financing system so that the Generalitat can obtain more resources, while JxCat and Esquerra - who have avoided attacking each other in this debate - have denounced the fiscal deficit and have insisted that an independent state will enjoy all the resources that Catalonia generates

There was disagreement, however, on the form this investment should take. En Comú and CUP rejected the privatisation and the externalisation of services, seeking a100% public system, whereas the PDECat was the main defender of the public-private collaboration

Post-electoral alliances

Unlike previous debates, post-electoral pacts have had little prominence. Only the broad front government proposed by Esquerra with JxCat, the commons, the CUP and the PDECat has been ruled out, "We will not invest a government the CUP is part of, we have different models of country", said the candidate of the PDECat, Àngels Chacón. Thus, the PDECat has distanced itself from an executive with all the pro-sovereignty formations to opt for the dichotomy already expressed by Artur Mas in the campaign: "The key to governability can be held by either by the CUP or the PDECat".

CUP candidate Sabater, yesterday in Barcelona

The main differences between the CUP and PDECat parties were made explicit throughout the debate. PDECat candidate Chacón referred to the economic model proposed by the CUP as "a Disneyland" - "We are not in Wall Street, we are in Catalonia", she said -, and assured that with the tax increase proposed by CUP candidate Dolors Sabater "they will drown the productive economy". Sabater retorted that her proposal will help small and medium enterprises and prevent wealth being concentrated in the "few".

Throughout the debate, however, Chacón received backing from an unexpected ally: Ciudadanos claimed that "entrepreneurs were happy" when she was consellera of Business minister.