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Dijous  13.03.2014  09:46

PSC stumbles with Barcelona primaries

Notable public reaction to independentists campaign in favor of a vote for Jordi Martí in the primaries · The PSC responds by saying that only federalists can vote


The PSC is in a pickle. After constant friction between Pere Navarro's executive committee and the critical sectors, the big strategy of opening up the party—by holding open primaries in Barcelona—may cause another political crisis. On the one hand, there is prospective mayoral candidate, Jaume Collboni, who by giving up his seat in Parliament in order to 'concentrate on the primaries' has made room for the mayor of Castellgalí (Bages), Cristòfol Gimeno, who was called to testify in the case of the salary increase for the executives of Catalunya Caixa. On the other hand, Manuel Fernández, former candidate in the primaries, made an unseemly exit when he used a homophobic slur to refer to his fellow candidates. And finally, there is the pro-independence campaign through the social networks with the hashtag #indyXmarti (the 'x' stands for 'for') in support of Jordi Martí—another candidate for PSC for the Barcelona mayoral primary—which has gotten a lot of play at this early stage.

Crisis in the Parliamentary Group

The mayor of Castellgalí (Bages), Cristòfol Gimeno—one of Pere Navarro's allies—will be an MP for PSC in the Catalan Parliament. But it turns out that Gimeno has been called to testify in the case of the salary increase for the ex-executives of Caixa de Catalunya, a local bank. He was one of the fifty-four members of the Board of Directors of the financial institution when they approved the raise in salaries for the executives even though the bank had serious financial losses.

Jaume Collboni's departure to dedicate his time to Barcelona municipal politics and the refusal of Laia Bonet to take his place in the Parliament—she is also a candidate in primaries in the capital—left the parliamentary seat in the hands of Javi López, who was next on the list. But López is PSC's candidate for the European elections and he had already announced that he would not accept the seat in order to concentrate on his EU candidacy. Gimeno was next on the list.

The departure of the former candidate
On Tuesday, PSC's spokesperson in the Catalan Parliament, Manuel Lucena, criticized the 'bad manners, crudeness and homophobia' of Manuel Fernández, who had hoped to be a candidate in the Barcelona primaries. Fernández had used a homophobic slur to refer to the other candidates, which instigated this comment from Lucena: "Someone who uses that kind of language at this stage in the game disqualifies himself." And he continued by saying that Barcelonians were lucky: "Someone who is capable of making such a comment at the very least should not be mayor of Barcelona for a long time." Fernández was the only person in the running who did not gather the endorsements necessary for continuing his candidacy.

Independentist campaign in favor of Martí
An anonymous Twitter user, @ElSomatent began a campaign for independentists to participate in the primaries so that they help Jordi Martí become the PSC candidate for the municipal elections—which, he says, might trigger a change in the PSC executive board. ElSomatent wrote an article titled (in Catalan), 'Why am I supporting Jordi Martí?' on the website Catalan Web. Among other things, he writes, 'That someone like Jordi Martí should win the primary race with a slogan like 'Begin to decide' and a pro-independence 'estelada' flag in his principal campaign photo could cause a huge crisis in the heart of PSC's national board. Iceta, Zaragoza, Ferran and company would have a panic attack. Direct democracy indeed will have chosen an 'outsider' and not an 'apparatschik'. Maybe we would see an extraordinary convention and a change in direction for the PSC.'

The PSC reacted on Twitter with their official primaries account by reminding voters that in order to participate in the primaries, they have to 'support the principles of the PSC (which include federalism)', which only further inflamed the issue. Jordi Martí wrote a strong rebuttal. Even conservative Spanish daily ABC mentioned the affair, and rather nervously accused the independence movement of sabotaging PSC's primaries with the candidate's cooperation.

Many users seem to have heeded the call of the #indyXmarti campaign.

Many of these reactions have been collected by @ElSomatent in a Storify thread, where he also responds to the accusations of sabotage to the primary process: