18.07.2023 - 11:36
Actualització: 18.07.2023 - 11:37
It is a possibility, according to the majority of polls: that the PP and Vox could form an absolute majority and reach an agreement to govern in Spain.
But what would it imply politically for the Catalan language, self-governance, or independence? Agreements like the one in the Valencian Country, with the entry of the far-right into the Generalitat; or the one in the Balearic Islands, where Santiago Abascal’s party exerts influence from the outside and also within the island councils, could be the prelude to what may come.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo tries to avoid having to resort to an agreement with the far-right: he appeals to the need to reach an absolute majority on his own, which no survey published so far predicts, and puts pressure on the PSOE to facilitate his investiture. But at the same time, the PP has previously made pacts both before and after the May 28th elections, and ultimately the results can be the key to determining which agreement they could reach, depending on the support Feijóo needs: from the outside or from within.
Abascal, however, is clear: he is not in favor of closing an investiture agreement with the PP. He prefers to be part of a coalition government, as they have also done in Extremadura or, previously, in Castilla y León. A few days ago, in an interview on Canal Sur, Abascal described the experience of agreements in the Community of Madrid and Andalusia as negative. And the price? Promoting Spanish language and putting an end to Catalan in schools
The PP and Vox have already focused on the language issue in the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Country. And this could also be extended to Catalonia, despite the resistance they may encounter from the Generalitat government, the majority of parties in the parliament, educational unions, and language advocacy organizations.
The PP candidate in Barcelona, Nacho Martín Blanco, wants to apply 25% of Spanish in schools and advocates going further. Feijóo’s electoral program states that they will ensure that in autonomous communities where there are more than one official language, both have vehicular status, according to a “linguistic balance pattern,” with the aim of ensuring that all students write and express themselves correctly in Spanish and “the corresponding co-official language.”
Vox directly states that the current situation is a “linguistic apartheid” that creates “first-class and second-class Spaniards.” They promise to guarantee the use of Spanish everywhere and eliminate “any form of discrimination” based on language. According to Vox, independence has used language as a segregating element among Spaniards, and there have been regional governments that have constructed false identities to artificially homogenize territories.
To end this situation, they claim that they will pursue educational authorities that impede students’ “right” to be educated in Spanish, and for this, there will be a regime of state inspection that applies a strict penalty system. In the Valencian Country, the PP and Vox have committed to defending the so call “free choice of language” at all educational stages, in an attempt to marginalize Catalan.
The government agreement also includes eliminating subsidies for entities that “promote” the Catalan Countries. An example of the importance this issue has for Vox was the cancellation of subscriptions to children’s Catalan magazines such as Camacuc or Cavall Fort in the Borriana library. In the Balearic Islands, the agreement between the PP and Vox also establishes that families can choose the primary language of schooling for their children, with the commitment to extend it to all educational stages before the end of the legislature.
Thanks to pressure from families and the educational community, José Ramón Bauzá could not approve a similar model when he was president, and the PSIB also failed to pass a law recognizing Spanish as the vehicular language in schools due to opposition from educational entities and Més, its governing partner.
Vox, in fact, intends for education competences to be recentralized and the entire system to be unified to eliminate the “separatist indoctrination” it claims has been promoted in schools.
Education is certainly one of the obsessions of the far-right. Although it speaks of indoctrination in reference to the alleged spread of independence, it aims to modify school curricula to include Spanish nationalist indoctrination. Specifically, it intends to highlight the “history of Spain, national identity, and Spain’s contribution to civilization and world history, with special attention to heroic deeds and achievements” of what it calls “national heroes,” in addition to the flag, anthem, crown, and dissemination of knowledge about “the specific manifestations” of the Spanish nation and Hispanic culture.
At the same time, it wants to provide “maximum legal protection” to the symbols of the flag, anthem, and crown, and increase penalties for offenses and insults against the Spanish state and its symbols. In their electoral program, Vox also demands that knowledge of Catalan not be a requirement for access to the civil service.
The new PP government, supported by Vox, in the Balearic Islands also wants to guarantee that not knowing Catalan will not penalize access to the civil service. Nor in the healthcare field, following the controversy over trying to eliminate it during Francina Armengol’s term.
Reintroducing sedition and penalizing votes
The PP promises more hostility towards independentist parties and movements. They want to roll back all measures negotiated between the PSOE and ERC and go further to make another referendum like the one on October 1st unfeasible.
Specifically, the PP has included in its program the reestablishment of the crime of sedition in the penal code, “improving and updating its classification,” they say, to punish the most serious forms of disloyalty to the Spanish constitution. They also state that they will regulate acts of disloyalty by institutions aimed at “jeopardizing peace and constitutional order,” whether it involves calling unauthorized referendums or consultations. They also include possible “machinations” to harm the credit of the Spanish state internationally.
The PP also wants to reform the offense of embezzlement again to return it to the formula prior to the reform promoted by the government of Pedro Sánchez, in order to “adapt its definition and penalties to European standards.” In all this, it does not seem that they will have difficulty understanding each other with the far-right.
Vox also speaks in its program of reinstate the crimes of “illegal referendum,” sedition, treason, and embezzlement of public funds. Additionally, they want to increase penalties because they consider these to be serious offenses against the unity and sovereignty of the Spanish state and the heritage of all Spaniards.
Feijóo also aims to modify the law on pardons to “reform the motivation” that the Spanish government must provide. And he intends to lead a modification of the Organic Law on General Electoral Regime (LOREG) to prevent people who are in a situation of summons and search from being able to run in elections. A clause that seems tailor-made for exiled President Carles Puigdemont, with the purpose of preventing him from becoming a Member of the European Parliament again.
They also want to apply this incompatibility to those convicted of terrorism, who they do not want to be eligible without demonstrating remorse, forgiveness, and reparations to the victims.
Vox also promises to immediately suspend the autonomy of autonomous communities with governments that use self-governing instruments to “attack the unity of Spain.” In addition, they want to make the presence of the Spanish civil and military administration visible and ensure it is present everywhere, especially in places where “separatist governments” believe they have tried to “erase” Spain.
On the other hand, Vox also wants to call for a referendum so that citizens can express their will regarding the illegalization of independence parties. They want to do this in accordance with Article 92 of the Spanish constitution. Because Vox believes that political parties and organizations that pursue the destruction of the territorial unity of the state should be illegalized.
They also guarantee that fra right opinions will no longer be persecuted for hate crimes, a persecution they believe is almost never applied to those it should: the independence movements, the far-left, and totalitarian ideologies, they say.
From the “coffee for everyone” to the centralization of competencies
The PP wants to promote multilateral relations with the regions through bodies such as the Conference of Presidents or the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council. They also promise to reform the financing system, which has been pending updating since 2014, and seek the “necessary consensus” to make it possible to ensure, they say, an “equitable distribution of resources” and preserve the autonomy of the autonomous communities.
Vox supports eliminating the current autonomies and having the Spanish government assume all key competencies. In addition to education, they want it to exercise all competencies in healthcare and establish a single system throughout the country, with a single health card and a common service portfolio. They also want the Spanish government to assume all competencies in security, interior affairs, traffic, civil protection, maritime surveillance, justice, and penitentiary institutions that were transferred years ago.