“More self-government in Euskadi? Yes, but to defend the public”

Sumar is running in the elections to the Basque Parliament on April 21 with Ezker Anitza-IU, Equo-Berdeak and Más Euskadi, after it was decided at the beginning of February that there would not be an electoral alliance with Podemos.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 10:28
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“More self-government in Euskadi? Yes, but to defend the public”

Sumar is running in the elections to the Basque Parliament on April 21 with Ezker Anitza-IU, Equo-Berdeak and Más Euskadi, after it was decided at the beginning of February that there would not be an electoral alliance with Podemos. The candidate for lehendakari is Alba García, a 36-year-old psychologist from Bilbao, who these days is working hard to make herself known and explain the proposals of her training. The polls do not agree on how the fight will be settled by the same electorate with the purple formation, so Sumar moves between the desire to consolidate this space in the Basque Country and the uncertainty in the face of a compromised scenario, since they could stay out of the House.

Podemos blames Sumar for the lack of an alliance. What is your version of what happened?

I believe that we have already given all the explanations on this topic. In any case, it must be said that in politics, as in life, any relationship, any agreement, is based on trust. And we believe that this trust could not be guaranteed. There were precedents that did not support that trust: it was seen in Galicia or when some deputies went to the mixed group. In any case, it must be highlighted that Sumar is already participating in a coalition, of four formations, and with a solid project.

How is your program different from Podemos?

I'm not going to compare one program and another. My job is to explain to people what Sumar is and what our project is for Euskadi, which seeks to restore people's confidence in politics because there is disaffection. The population in Euskadi, furthermore, is very politically mature and is very clear about it when they go to the polls. We have a vice president and five ministries, and I think they know us. I don't get into whether we have one measure and Podemos another. We want to explain to people what our measures are, which have to do with earning a decent wage, with paying a reasonable price for rent, with leaving work at a reasonable time, with migrants having the same rights that I have as a white person. , with labor rights, with quality public services or with environmentalism.

The price of housing is being one of the issues of the campaign. What measures do they propose?

Housing is a subjective right in Euskadi that is not being fulfilled, and it cannot be that people leave their money on rent. The rental price must be regulated urgently, and it is something that can be done now, because there is a Basque Housing law, which the PNV and the PSE have not touched. In addition, empty housing must be mobilized and, of course, more housing must be created. With these three measures alone we would respond to 32,000 homes, and in Euskadi there are 65,000 people signed up for Etxebide (the Basque Housing Service). For the PNV and the PSE, housing is a market good, and all the measures they implement are to facilitate the purchase or make life easier for the vulture funds. Today it is impossible to live, to be emancipated and to have a life project.

The situation of Osakidetza, the Basque Health Service, is another issue looking at 21-A. What measures do they propose?

We have a very extreme situation, and those responsible are the PNV and the PSE, which have governed for 40 years. We have a drama in primary care, with scandalous ratios, outpatient centers that provide care without a doctor and absolutely privatized services. And it's not just about the tests: 98% of abortions are performed in private clinics. There has been deliberate privatization to reduce costs, and that has had an impact on the quality of the service. We also have a third of the temporary workforce and workers in unworthy conditions. We propose, first of all, to strengthen and streamline hiring and improve the working conditions of health and non-health personnel. It is a priority to strengthen primary care in family medicine, the gateway to the entire system. Secondly, we cannot allow any Continuing Care Point to close.

Sumar's spokesperson in Euskadi, Andeka Larrea, wrote an essay on the “Basque” identity, and its general secretary, Lander Martínez, claims that space. What does this concept translate into at a political level?

Those of us who call ourselves Basques take root in a long-standing tradition in Euskal Herria and recognize that it is a nation, a nation that has been inclusive and will continue to be so. At the political level, we have a federal and plurinational conception. And we are committed to a new social pact, a new statute. However, for me there is a but, and that is: what do I do with those skills? Do we want more self-government? Yes, but to defend quality public services, to exercise those powers in matters such as housing...

The space of the confederal left managed to win general elections in Euskadi, with Podemos. Now the polls indicate that both Sumar and Podemos could be left out of the Basque Parliament. What part of the responsibility do they have in that disaffection that you mentioned before?

It would seem unfair to me to say that the blame for the political disaffection that exists lies with the left. There are many macro elements to take into account, and there are also political cycles; Eight years ago we were at a time when the left mobilized.

But do they do self-criticism?

You always have to do self-criticism. Furthermore, as a person who has been in disaffection I can understand it. People are fed up with the mud; He wants us to solve his life, to lower his rents... But we must be optimistic and see that the confederal Basque left is a solid space, with a track record in this country and that it is key to forming a government of progress in Euskadi .