Monday, 28 December 2015

CUP’s base fails to reach decision on Mas investiture

Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- The process to constitute a new government after the pro-independence forces’ victory in the 27-S Catalan Elections continues to be stuck. Pro-independence radical left CUP’s General Assembly, which was set up to be decisive in starting the new term of office, ended in a tie on voting current President Mas’ investiture. 1,515 participants opted for rejecting Mas’ candidature and continuing negotiating until the 9th of January and 1,515 supported cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal, including Mas’ investiture. CUP’s number one, Antonio Baños, defined the Assembly’s tie as “a challenge” rather than a problem. “‘Junts Pel Sí’ has the opportunity to make another proposal, as that which is laid on the table doesn’t have majoritarian support” stated CUP MP Anna Gabriel. CUP’s Political Board will meet on Saturday to decide the next step and if there is not an agreement by the 9th of January, new elections will be called automatically.

CUP’s General Assembly was divided into three rounds of voting, each of them made through a system of secret ballot. Initially, there were four possible scenarios: agreement with Mas at the front; instating Mas but rejecting ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal regarding the social action plan; no to the agreement, no to President Mas and yes to trying to find an alternative candidate; and no to the agreement, no to President Mas and yes to trying to find other support to facilitate Mas’ investiture by abstaining. This last option was the first to be dismissed and in the last round of voting there were only two scenarios left: accepting ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal and, therefore, Mas’ candidature, or rejecting it and continuing to negotiate until the 9th of January deadline. The result of the final vote wasn’t in CUP’s plans: a technical and exact tie between Mas supporters and those opposed to his investiture.

“Devilish arithmetic”

Right after the vote counting, Antonio Baños appeared before the media together with a representation of CUP members and described the Assembly’s tie as an example of “how devilish arithmetic could be” and gave the 27-S results as another example of that. However, Baños assured that CUP “is not afraid” of the assembly’s decisions and considers them of higher value in comparison to those made “through lobbies, interests and oligarchies”.

According to Baños, the tie is not a problem but “a challenge” to debate and “find solutions”.

More time for ‘Junts Pel Sí’s alternative proposal

“‘Junts Pel Sí’ has the opportunity to make another proposal, as that which is laid on the table doesn’t have majoritarian support” stated CUP MP Anna Gabriel and added that another option for the cross-party list “is to remain still”. “We won’t remain still. We will continue making politics as it is what we were elected for”, she assured. According to Gabriel, the 3,000 CUP members which attended the General Assembly “talked from their hearts and from the bottom of their stomachs” and proved that “any scenario wins”. “Part of CUP’s base believe that it is time to accept ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal and they have reasons for supporting the breakaway and moving towards social justice” stated Gabriel “exactly the same which considered ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal to be insufficient”.

The calendar from now on

This week, CUP’s local and territorial divisions and the 10 organisations related to the radical left party will be called. Together, the 60 representatives from CUP’s territorial division (the Political Board) and the 10 from the different organisations (the Parliamentary Action Group) will meet on the 2nd of January to make a decision.

If the radical left party accept ‘Junts Pel Sí’s proposal, the investiture debate would take place on the 5th of January. In the first round, Mas would need the support of 6 of CUP’s 10 MPs to be instated as President. If he doesn’t get this support, a second vote would be scheduled for the 7th of January. In this case, two votes from CUP would be enough to instate Mas as President.

The deadline to invest a new President is the 9th of January. If a decision hasn’t been made by then or Mas is rejected again, new elections will have to be called. 

The unionist parties call for elections

Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans leader Inés Arrimadas described CUP’s General Assembly tie as “another chapter in the terror series which Catalan politics has lately become”. The head of the opposition in the Parliament urged Mas to accept that his career “is over” and call new elections “to escape the current instability”. “We can’t afford one more day of experiments, of opening international newspapers which talk about the political madness occurring in Catalonia” warned Arrimadas and accused Mas of “leaving Catalans’ future in the hands of 3,000 anti-establishment and anti-Euro”. Ciutadans “is ready” to become “the political alternative” she concluded. 

The Catalan People’s Party (PPC)’s Xavier García Albiol pointed to calling new elections “as the only solution to recover the dignity and unblock the scenario”. According to Albiol, “the current Catalan President and Catalan politics can’t continue making a fool of themselves in front of Spain and the international community” and he urged Catalans “to become aware of it”. 

“Catalonia’s presidency can’t be the object of an auction and the investiture can’t be reached without guaranteeing the stability of the government” stated Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) leader Miquel Iceta. He also accused “Mas, rather than CUP” of this term’s “wrong approach”.

Mas: “The work is done”

The current Catalan President wanted to send a “message of calm” due to the political situation “of worrying, unease, upsetting for some and uncertainty regarding the future”. Mas assured that both the local and the national administrations “are running”. “I can understand that, in these moments, there might be people overwhelmed with what is happening and even worried and upset in this moment of uncertainty in Catalonia and in the whole of Spain” he stated “but the country, the Government and the administration are running”. “The work is being done at all levels” he assured “the country is not avoiding the daily problems and aims to keep on working harder and even better in the future”.

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  • CUP's MPS, Antonio Baños and Anna Gabriel, after the radical left party's General Assembly (by ACN)