The more than five million Catalans called to the polls still do not know if they will be able to vote or not on February 14. The elections are pending the decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), which has been given until the 8th to resolve the appeals against the postponement of the elections proposed by the Generalitat. The acting president and candidate for ERC, Pere Aragonès (Pineda de Mar, Barcelona, 38 years old), insists that the device is safe but believes that the real guarantee in terms of health and democratic quality is to vote on May 30, with a significant part of the population already vaccinated.
Question. Justice opens the door for the Government to approve a new decree. They will do it?
Reply. We defend the decree that postponed the elections and the epidemiological data give us the reason to postpone. Holding the elections on 14-F may affect the level of participation.
P. Will there be another decree or not?
R. No, especially after seeing that the magistrates defend reasons of political opportunity and not so much the legal question.
P. Do you have a request for total confinement on the table?
R. It is not, but we cannot rule it out, depending on the evolution of the pandemic. The proposal will have to be made by the technicians.
P. It was known from the beginning that they would vote in the middle of the pandemic. Lack of preparation?
R. No. The Government, from the logistical point of view, has done all the necessary work and has the backing of the experts, but the measures may be insufficient if the sanitary conditions are extremely harsh. And they are. When the elections were suspended in Galicia and the Basque Country, they had 200 infected in the ICUs. Now we have 640.
P. What would you say to a person who has been elected as president of the table for 14-F?
R. That we will apply the protocols and it will be protected. But I insist that the best guarantee is to postpone the elections. Once again a decision of the courts interferes in decisions of Catalan politics.
P. You are a lawyer by training and you understand how justice works and how it is the procedure of very precautionary measures, without going into the merits of the appeal. Isn’t it electoralist to say that it is an attack on the Generalitat?
P. In any way. We find a Prosecutor’s Office that should represent the general interest but sometimes represents that of the State, and that asked to keep the date of 14 in a precautionary manner. And there is a particular vote of one of the magistrates of the TSJC that supports to postpone it.
P. What evidence do you have to support that such an attack exists?
R. The PSC was the only party that was against postponing. It was entities from the socialist environment that moved to present the resources. President Pedro Sánchez speaks the day before the court rules and clearly says that the elections cannot be moved. The socialist interest in maintaining the elections is evident.
P. Can a rise in abstention make the results questioned as illegitimate?
R. We have to work so that it is not like that in any case, not on February 14 or if it were on May 30. We want the highest possible participation and set a percentage [mínimo] it would be reckless.
P. But do you have that fear?
R. The best way to avoid any such temptation is to vote safely and freely. And the best way is to postpone the date. I insist, we are prepared for the 14-F and we must advance as much vote as possible by mail.
P. Will you vote by mail?
R. It is one of the things that we are considering, depending on the epidemiological situation. It will be necessary to ensure that the Post Office, as we have been told, offers all the material means.
P. ERC defended the vote last October. Is this situation the fault of Torra’s decision not to call elections?
R. We said it was better for the president to convene but he considered it appropriate to exercise until the last day and we always respect the decision of the Catalan institutions. As vice president, it was clear to me that in a crisis situation it was not the time to flee from responsibilities.
P. He asks for a broad front to govern with independentists and with Catalonia in Comú Podem. It does not include the PSC.
R. Because not only are they not in favor of amnesty and the referendum, but today’s PSC is the same one that defended article 155. In fact, one of those who defended it most vehemently was Salvador Illa.
P. ERC still criticizes the “free” votes from Manuel Valls to Ada Colau, with which he shielded the mayor of Barcelona. What would you do if the PSC gave you theirs?
R. The PSC has made it very clear that it will never support a government that supports independence, and mine will.
P. The CUP is now open to enter the Government. Do you trust the anti-capitalists?
R. The CUP may be a perfect fit and they should be more involved. We aspire to win but we are very clear that more voices will have to be incorporated.
P. Would you like to repeat a Government with Junts?
R. We are not in politics to do what we want, but what is most useful for the citizens of Catalonia. There are options to build a future for this country and that I do feel like.