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Post The Catalan Economy is Not Collapsing
Created by John Eipper on 12/29/17 4:13 AM

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The Catalan Economy is Not Collapsing (Jordi Molins, Spain, 12/29/17 4:13 am)

In my post of December 26th, I incorrectly stated that "The Constitutionalist bloc got fewer votes [in Catalonia's parliamentary election] than the Republican bloc: 1.8 million votes versus 2.3 million votes."

The final electoral results show the Republican bloc got 2.1 million votes, and the Constitutionalists, 1.9 million votes. The reason of my mistake is the results at the time of writing that email were only provisional. I did not foresee the very low proportion of voting among Catalans living in foreign countries (the participation was provisionally announced to be 82%, as per José Manuel de Prada's last post, but the final results show only a 79% participation), which skewed my estimate.

I hope WAISers appreciate a data-based approach in political analysis. Everybody has an opinion, but when providing data backing up one's claims, one has to be much more careful about stating seductive, but wrong, hypotheses. Most Constitutionalists writing on WAIS do not provide data to back up their claims, making much more difficult a comparison of the merits of both sides, using a fact-based approach.

In my opinion, the reason why Constitutionalists do not provide data is they have none. For example, yesterday the AIReF (the Spanish equivalent for the Congressional Budget Office) estimated the Catalan GDP growth for 2017 Q4 at 0.7%, and 0.8% for 2018 Q1. This GDP growth is higher than the corresponding for 2016 Q4, and consistent with around 3% YoY GDP growth, which is pretty high for European standards. The claims the Catalan economy would collapse in the last quarter of the year, which was repeatedly stated during the electoral campaign by the Constitutionalists, have proved to be ill-founded. It is not possible to estimate how many Catalans voted for Constitutionalist political parties due to that fear, believing the Constitutionalists could not cheat in such an indecent way.

The comments about an unfair electoral law in Catalonia are also unfounded: the Catalan electoral law is ruled by the Spanish law 5/1985. The Catalan Parliament has never changed that Spanish law, so the Catalan electoral process was defined by the Spanish Parliament on 1985. That law may be fair or not; but such responsibility is on the Spanish Parliament, not on the Catalan Parliament (as implicitly suggested by several Constitutionalist WAISers).

The Spanish Senate skews much more the number of seats towards small constituencies: a vote in Soria is worth around four times a vote in Madrid, resulting in systematic absolute majorities for the Popular Party. The Spanish Senate started the application of the "article 155" in Catalonia. I do not see Constitutionalists in WAIS complaining about it.

Finally, again the issue of racism and xenophobia in Catalonia: apart from opinions, Constitutionalists in WAIS do not provide a single piece of evidence about the supposed xenophobia by the Republicans. Instead, I believe I have provided ample evidence of a distressing dehumanization process on the Constitutionalists' side. Republicans support the "Refugees Welcome" campaign, and they are mostly composed of Catalans of mixed origin (such as myself). There is not a single piece of evidence that Republican leaders are racist or xenophobic, quite the opposite. As a consequence, repeated accusations of xenophobia are, in fact, a clear case of xenophobia.

JE comments:  Jordi, what are the next steps?  My preliminary question:  Will the new Parliament be able to use its majority to bring back Puigdemont, or will Madrid's final say still apply?


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