L’OBSERVADORA

Chessboard manoeuvres

If the covid allows it, the February 14 elections should help the country recover from the 2017 trauma. A trauma that has been brewing since the reform of the Statute and whose main political actors have had a responsibility that today obliges them to be relieved in order to clean up messages, oxygenate relations between parties and open up a new stage that aims to avoid the economic and political decline that the country seems to be going through.

Miquel Iceta's replacement in the PSC shakes the electoral counter and is part of this need to change actors in order to turn the page. Iceta has been the sharpest and most witty parliamentarian, the most institutional, while he has also been the leader of the PSC during the application of the 155 rule, and the politician that appeared in the photograph with Ciudadanos and the extreme right, and the man unable to visit prison. The withdrawal of Iceta from the Catalan front line and his probable transfer to the central government is a good electoral move by Pedro Sánchez to bring life to the socialist electorate, and above all to favour the capacity for a pact. Salvador Illa will lead an uncomplicatedly Spanishist PSC that long ago expelled the soul of Tura, Castells, Geli, Nadal and even the free electron of Pere Navarro and his suicidal approach to the freedom to decide and to republicanism.

Sánchez once again shows that he is a poker player with no fear of betting and Salvador Illa is a solvent option due to the high degree of public awareness and an image of moderation that is approved, according to the CEO, by the voters of ERC, PDECat and the comuns and is narrowly suspended by the voters of JxCat. The Minister of Health has an image of consensus and moderation that can connect with citizens in times of crisis and fatigue. His restraint, which is not precisely the face of joy, is that of a formal politician that accepts the candidacy as an "act of service" - as if he was someone who is going towards a sacrifice -, as well as an asset in times of excessive bad news.

Illa's problem is the lack of a transformative and stable political programme of the Socialists for Catalonia. With the bridges of confidence blown up so many years ago, the promises of spending on infrastructure and the letter of pardon are as valuable today as empty words are. If we want to make useful politics that will move the Spanish and Catalan scene, we will have to take real risks in the face of the right's constant shouting, a part of the judiciary, and the rabid press.

Illa's entry into the Catalan political chessboard changes the electoral landscape and gives oxygen to the non-sovereignist voter, who thought an independence victory was inevitable.

Today, the electoral forecast is that of a more ambitious PSC and of a crumbling sovereignty landscape that recovers the right-left axis and not only that of independence, and offers it to citizens.

ERC continues to be the favourite now that the new offer of the PSC has come to light. The main unknown is how the wear and tear of the management of the pandemic will affect the electoral perspectives, especially in the disconcerting Labour and Social Affairs Department.

When the offer that citizens receive is pragmatism and management, it is difficult to understand the protection of incompetence, if one does not want to feed the conviction that ERC needs more cadres and more technicians and less dogmatism. The importance of ERC lies in the hands of a new political generation that must show whether it is capable of getting rid of the syndrome of the second child, and fighting for the non-essentialist independence movement of the Barcelona metropolitan area and of real Catalonia, a Catalonia that is adamant for a democratically viable project for independence.

Another substantial force in this crumbling will be JxCat, where relief has been half-hearted because Carles Puigdemont is aware of how the possibility of a pardon would leave him in the limbo of exile, leading a formal resistance. Puigdemont is an asset for those who hope that the PSOE will remain, as it has until now, stuck in its words, and has not resisted the temptation to place himself at the top of the bill by stepping infront of a woman, Laura Borràs, whom he supports because of the result of the internal primaries. Borràs will compete with another woman from the post-convergent space, Àngels Chacón, heiress to the convergent tradition of management with a remarkable experience in the Ministry of Business in complicated times, and who faces the challenge of rebuilding an ideological space that exists, but nowadays is carved by melancholy and dreams of survival, to try to recover in the Catalan Parliament with half of its group in the Spanish Parliament.

The day after the elections will be the day for agreements. It is not foreseeable that anyone will be able to govern alone. The PSC is, with Illa, an actor more prone to consensus, and sovereignty is today crumbled and confronted. On the 15th the work of forming government will begin and it would be convenient that the sovereignist forces take this into account during the campaign so as to not mistake its adversaries.