Yesterday, the reform of Catalonian Statute passed the last of its obstacles qith a referendum in Catalonia. The results are 73% of the people who voted, voted in favor of it. 21%, against. Less than 50% went to vote. The media have treated it this way:
a) Spanish Media:
La Razón -right- : The majority of the Catalonian people do not back the Statute. Zapatero says he has all the democratic strength and an ample majority. PSOE accusses PP of delegitimising the referendum and of leaving the democratic way , regarding Rajoy’s declaration in which he asked Zapatero to stop the process, taking into account the low participation.
El Mundo includes a summary of the reactions about the Statute:
- La Vanguardia -Catalan right-: Zapatero points out the great support and does not consider important the low turnout.
- El Periódico de Cataluña -Catalan left-: A hard Yes of half Catalonia and insists that no one can doubt about the legitimacy of the Statute.
- El Mundo -center-: The great majority of the Catalans do not back the Statute’s change.
- El País -left-: Catalonia gives a massive yes, with a participation near 50%.
- ABC -in transition-: Only one out of three Catalans support Zapatero in this vote.
El Mundo also reports that PSOE and PP are accusing one another of the lack of success of this referendum. Rajoy has said that with the referendum of the Statute, Zapatero has had a serious failure.
El Semanal Digital -right; digital paper-: Catalans have made a vote of censorship to their politicians. Zapatero and Maragall fail the exam before the Catalans in the Statute’s vote.
Telecinco -left, Berlusoni TV in Spain-: Catalonia passes clearly the Statute despite the low turnout.
Antena 3 -right-: Yes to the Statute with low turnout.
Libertad Digital-right-: Only one out of three Catalans supported the Statute. A minority supports the referendum without consensus that conditions both Spain and Catalonia. Rajoy regrets Zapatero remains in a wrong position despite the bad result.
b) International Media:
BBC: Catalonia endorses autonomy plan. Only mentions the turnout inside the news. But says:
Catalonia will get more control over airports, ports and immigration.[…] But given the low turnout, it is uncertain how strong a mandate the new charter will have, the BBC’s Danny Wood in Barcelona reports.
(I have to add CNN is allied in Spain with PRISA, a holding which support PSOE, and which owns “El Pais”, among other Spanish and international media).
Le Figaro: Catalonia provides herself of new powers. The news also say: “Catalonia, the more attractive of all Spanish regions, will be able now to issue job licences or to impose Catalan to foreigners. (well, to foreigners and to people from other Spanish regions”.
Le Monde: The Catalan voters support largely the new statute of autonomy. (Le Monde is associated with El Pais).
Batiburrillo: A referendum to feel shame.
Cartas y artículos: The Statute does not dazzle the Catalans.
David Millan: La Catalogne vote “oui”.
El PSOE utilizará tu “Sí” contra España: Great victory of “Yes. Goodbye, Spain.
Es la libertad de expresión, idiotas: The failure of the Statute.
Etimologías: Results of the Catalonian Statute.
El rincón de la libertad: We have an Statute and a break between the Catalonian politicians.
Foro Liberal: The fools’ conspiration has succeeded.
La Druida Anti-ZP: A bad day for a country called Spain.
Labore Solis: Not caring about the Statute, not caring about ZP.
Movimiento Anti-ZP: Only a 37% supported the Statute.
Noches confusas en el siglo XXI: Zapatero won.
As a conclusion, I can only say that the low turnout is only one of the worrying things of this vote. More than half of the population is just bored of politicians who only want to carry on with their agendas without considering the real needs of the people of Spain, in general, and of Catalonia, in particular. Immigration, economy, unemployment, low competitivity, etc, can only be some of the problems that people sense now that exist but are not interesting to Spanish political ellite. Political parties must know that they exist -and are paid- because of the citizens and the needs of the citizens, not the other way round. And episodes like the fall of the Carmel’s quarter (Barcelona)-in which the machines to make the tunnels for the underground made the ground fall, because contractors had not invested the money they were given but simply paid politicians illegal quantities- are significant. Today a part of the people who lose their homes in that “terrible accident” are homeless and living in hotels. The Catalan Government offered them low compensations for the loss of their homes. Here is a video -there are more in youtube, but this is sums up the others- about the state of the Carmelo quarter today:
As you can see, the quarter’s state is miserable in 16th June 2006, 16 months after the catastrophe.
The second one, from my point of view, is that the attacks on politicians opposed to the Statute have been normal as I wrote here, here and here. I do not understand why if someone is just pacific and democratic has to insult and, in some cases, even slap and injure people who have another points of view.
Lastly, and in moral/ethical terms, the regulation of the abortion and euthanasia are, at least, disgusting:
“All persons have the right to live with dignity their process of death”
“The public powers must see that the free decision of the women is foremost in all cases which may affect her dignity, integrity, andphysical and mental welfare, especially regarding her own body and hersexual and reproductive health.”
In fact that is a call for both euthanasia and free abortion.
Also disgusting is the fact -as noted before- that Catalonia has some powers that Constitution says are from the State as immigration and ports and airports when they are f general interest.
UPDATE: Barcepundit has commented the Statute. I am going to underline two of the paragraphs of his post:
To begin with, it’s a statute that doesn’t fully respect thelinguistic rights by Spanish-speaking people (about 50% of thepopulation): the affirmative action in favor of Catalan, which madesense right after the Franco dictatorship (during which the languagewas removed from the official sphere, though not forbidden, as Kaleboelreminds apropos a lousy article in the Guardian), has been dramatically expanded(if shops and business were now fined for not using Catalan with theircustomers and internal paperwork, just wait when the new laws areenforced; and there’s not a single public school where non-Catalanspeaking parents -people coming in from the rest of Spain, or foreignimmigrant- can send their child to so that they’re taught in Spanish).One can argue that it doesn’t make that much sense after 27 years ofpolicies favoring it. In fact, this is probably why the statue won’t beeffective immediately, if opponents go through what they announced:that they’d appeal to the Constitutional Court, which can only be doneafter the referendum.
But besides what the defenders of Spain’sunity were saying, there were other arguments for opposition: first, bysecessionists who think that this new statute, and the new powers itgrants, are still not enough. They want the whole independence fromSpain. And there were also people -like yours truly- concerned not bythe fact that Spanish regions have more powers (I’ve always thoughtthat the closer they are to the governed, the better), but by the factthat this new statute is extremely interventionist, much more than thecurrent one. It was developed by a coalition of center-left and leftistparties who, in the immortal words of the Gipper, “believe every day isApril 15” (well, actually here it’s June 30, but you get the point);who are proponents of the nanny state and who want to regulate anythingthat moves.
I have to add there is a father, Carmelo Ortega, who has made a hunger strike to ask for Spanish-speaking classes for his daughter in Catalonia. During the firss night he did in the San Jaime Square some people intended to force him to leave. Others menaced him by mail.
UPDATE 2: Actually, there are shops who have been fined because the tickets were in Spanish.