Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Economic Crisis and Sovereigntism, in the general policy debate in Parliament

PSC and CiU bump heads over the success or failure of the management of the economic crisis and ERC defines its sovereigntist* profile

The economic crisis and the new surge of sovereigntism dominated the general policy debate** in parliament. The PSC will try to center the debate, which will be opened by José Montilla this afternoon, on the management of the economic crisis and in defense of self-government, but avoiding everything that has to do with nationalist ambitions. Esquerra, on the other hand, will look to define a nationalist profile, and CiU will try to show that its time in the three-party coalition is coming to an end.

José Montilla will open the general policy debate session at 5 in the evening with a speech in which he will look over this last year, marked by the effects of the economic crisis. It's possible that the president will want to strengthen the image of the government as manager that he has given since the retaking of his political career; in this way, Montilla will attempt to keep discussions that make his party uncomfortable in the background, like the strength and across-the-board acceptance that was won by the independentist movement thanks to the referendum in Arenys de Munt, and the debate over a possible curtailing of powers in the Estatut [Statute of Autonomy] by the Constitutional Court of Spain.

In fact, the Socialist spokesperson, Miquel Iceta, already announced yesterday that his party would omit this last matter from the debate. 'We don't believe that some topics should distract from the fundamental theme, that is the economic crisis," said Iceta, who will outline the merits of the three-party coalition: 'This was the year of the desalinization plant, of the Hospital de Sant Pau, of the tunnel of the Bracons, of the finalization of the deployment of the 'mossos d'esquadra' [Catalan police force], of the inauguration of the 'Ciutat de la Justícia' [Judicial Headquarters of Barcelona and Hospitalet de Llobregat], of the outlying areas, of the negotiation of the financing model, of the LEC [Law of Catalan Education] and the 'Pacte Nacional per la Immigració' [National Pact on Immigration].

Artur Mas will also want to highlight the government's management of the economic crisis, but rather in an effort to demonstrate that there has been a lack of leadership. The president of CiU will make a speech in which he will offer a plan to get through the crisis and to defend self-government and to remind everyone that the constructive opposition that the party has followed permitted the passing of the Law of Catalan Education and the National Pact on Research and on Immigration.

For his part, Joan Puigcercós will speak in a more sovereigntist tone and will announce the beginning of 'an era of national aspirations'. The Republicans will try to show that their management of the government, at the side of PSC, is compatible with contributing to the path of constructing a separate State. 'It is perfectly coherent to be part of the government and to continue to demand change.'

The participation of the parliamentry groups, and the replies by the President of the Generalitat will take place tomorrow. On Thursday, the session will close with the votes on the proposals that will be presented.

Originally published in Vilaweb on 29/sep/09 at 06:00h

Translation Notes:

*Sovereigntist - See Wikipedia article. Although they reference only Quebec and France, I think it's for lack of knowledge, and not lack of relevance
*Debat de política general - I have translated as "General Policy Debate" but I'm not sure if this is a term that already exists in English. Suggestions welcome.

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