Sánchez relies on a clear victory for Illa to boost the legislature

Pedro Sánchez has a big exam tomorrow in Catalonia.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 May 2024 Saturday 05:41
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Sánchez relies on a clear victory for Illa to boost the legislature

Pedro Sánchez has a big exam tomorrow in Catalonia. If the PSC wins and manages to govern, the president will receive significant support that will allow him to boost a legislature that is practically paralyzed. The leader of the Central Executive would see his policy of appeasement in Catalonia endorsed with the reunion agenda, a friendly way to overcome the process not exempt from costly decisions such as pardons, penal reform and amnesty. It is the embrace of the bear, which Illa has also cultivated in Catalonia with ERC and Junts, through agreements that have allowed blocks to be knocked down.

In these elections, therefore, the game is played on two tracks. The President of the Central Government is looking for social support for his investiture agreements with the pro-independence parties, especially for the amnesty that is about to be approved, and to file the process in Catalonia with Illa, which if he governs, he will prevent a return to 2017. This is how it is understood that in his meetings the head of the Executive has reduced the dispute to a disjunctive: "Island or the mud of the right and the ultra-right", and that the candidate of the PSC has done the same exercise in local key: "More of the same or a new stage".

If Illa governs, Sánchez will not be spared having to fight with ERC and Junts for the stability of his legislature and the votes in Congress will be tough, but with Illa as baron, many of the measures that can benefit Catalonia will be of socialist ownership.

In Spanish terms, a comfortable victory for Illa would also give the PSOE a boost for the next stage, the European elections. Not so long ago the polls placed the PSOE 12 or 13 points behind the PP, in a dangerous drift since the results of 23-J. The elections can serve the PSOE to overcome the costs of the Catalan agenda and try to start the comeback

In Catalonia, Illa can return the PSC to the Generalitat fourteen years after José Montilla handed over the testimony to Artur Mas. The aspirant is leading the polls after a policy of extending a hand to the ERC Government and an electoral campaign focused on management. Illa denounces "a lost decade" because of the process, in which Catalonia "has been stuck", he regrets, in almost all matters (health, education, drought, infrastructure, security...). The appeal to recover "the excellence of public services" goes along these lines and has the incentive of being proactive. "People want things to be done", they stated at the PSC these days.

But if he wants to govern, Illa must win, impose himself with some laziness and count on independence not gaining a majority. The assiduous presence of Sánchez in the campaign, despite the initial stop for his reflective week, aimed to mobilize the traditionally abstentionist electorate, while Illa appealed to the useful vote, encouraging those who "have not never voted, for whatever reason". Transversality has been the slogan of the PSC in the campaign to invoke the "strength to govern" as stated in its slogan.

To achieve this, the focus will be on the commons and ERC. Even if Illa wanted a government alone, Jéssica Albiach's people will demand a coalition and it will be necessary to see if Pere Aragonès's people are ready to agree.

At yesterday's campaign closing meeting, in Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron, in front of almost 4,000 excited people, Sánchez waved "the flag of coexistence to overcome the crisis raised by two right-wing presidents" in Catalonia, with reference to Rajoy and Puigdemont, and appealed for a "wide victory for Illa to govern on May 13". And the candidate placed two alternatives before the polls: "Whoever wants more of the same has many ballots, even abstention, but whoever wants a new stage only has one: that of the PSC".