Saturday, October 23

Acronyms, faces and shape: the unknowns to be resolved from the leap to politics in Empty Spain

Which associations and collectives of Emptied Spain will participate in the next elections. Who will be the candidates of this platform. They will do so in the form of a political party or they will follow in the wake of Teruel Existe and opt for the electoral grouping formula. There will be acronyms at the national level or there will be as many names as organizations manage to enter their name on the ballots. The forgotten ones are clear that they need to reach parliaments to reverse the depopulation and they have two years (or less, in the event of electoral advances) to organize and assemble candidacies.

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The first unknown has to do with the possible names that will lead the candidacy (or the candidacies, if there are several). From the coordinator of the Empty Spain they ask not to start the house on the roof and avoid responding. The first thing, they insist, is to decide in future assemblies how to articulate a whole national discontent to reach Congress, the Senate, the regional parliaments and the municipalities. The objective that was raised during the great demonstration of 2019, that of the Revolt of Emptied Spain, they take for granted: to put the problem of depopulation on the political agenda.

Antonio Saz is from Lechago (in Teruel, 45 inhabitants) he is 53 years old, he is a computer scientist and has been one of the coordinators of the III General Assembly of Empty Spain, which was held two weeks ago in Priego and in which it was decided turn the movement into a political entity. Saz doesn’t want to talk about names; wants to talk about work and challenges. “I’m going to be in the work part, which is where I’ve been since I’ve been engaged. What I know how to do is work. I worked on the development model [el documento maestro que la plataforma presentó en el Congreso] and I tried to coordinate the best I could and I knew, “he says bluntly.” And now I say the same thing. My greatest intensity will be in the creation of this tool, of resources and we will see later. It will not be a personal question of mine, “he recalls,” but it will be a question of all those who decide who is the most suitable to be there. “When asked if he thinks that, in a hypothetical candidacy at the national level, Tomás Guitarte (Cutanda, 50 inhabitants) would be a good candidate, he responds: “Obviously”.

However, the aforementioned does not want to go so fast. “You are trying to run a lot,” responds the deputy from Teruel Existe on the same question. “You have to build the house from below,” he adds. “I believe that all of us who are here, obviously, are here because we understand that we have a moral duty to try this option. A moral duty to our past, to our parents, to our origins, to the people who suffered everything firsthand. that we have been denouncing: conditional migrations or how the population was treated as one more material resource and forced to move from its origins, “laments Guitarte.

“There is a tremendous social and moral debt with a large part of the Spanish that the State never understood and with the territories that the State has never tried to compensate,” denounces the parliamentarian. Guitarte does not believe that anyone with “real political ambitions” wants to make a career out of the Emptied Spain because “it would be easier for him anywhere else.” “Here we come for a moral and intellectual commitment and that is the feeling that was also repeated in Priego, that we have an obligation to do so. We cannot miss this opportunity,” he repeats. That final idea, that of not letting the last train pass, was the prelude to the meeting in Priego. The Government promised 10,000 million of the European recovery funds for the fight against depopulation and from the coordinator they see it clearly. It’s now or never. They want part of their proposals to be taken into account when executing their plans in the coming years. Let them be heard and consulted.

Vanessa García Macarrón is 44 years old and from Soria, although she considers herself more from her town (Sotillo del Rincón, 180 inhabitants), and acts as a spokesperson for the Soria Ya platform. This lawyer took twenty years to return to her city. When he turned 18 he went to Valladolid to study the race and worked in different places. What was his surprise when when he returned home he realized that nothing had changed. “When I returned I found that nothing in Soria, in terms of services or infrastructures, had changed. Everything was the same and that is why I decided to enter Soria NOW. I decided that that had to change, that people did not have to leave their cities for not having opportunities here, “he protests.

During the interview, he names Teruel Existe several times. Somehow, this grouping of voters has opened the path to Emptied Spain towards the Carrera de San Jerónimo. García Macarrón says that she would like to take that step towards politics, but she also talks about her colleagues. “To me personally yes. But of course, we are many colleagues, we are many members, many trained people and anyone could be a candidate.”

Political party or constituency of voters?

Another of the dilemmas that loom over this leap to politics is the way in which it is articulated. Teruel Existe opted for the figure of the constituency of voters, a mechanism that is closer to the spirit of citizen associations, but which has many shortcomings in practice. To name one, when Teruel Existe again stands for elections, it will have to go through the process of obtaining endorsements again if it does not become a political party. For now, his trademark is already registered with the Ministry of the Interior since this September 29 under his same name and the initials TEx, as well as that of Empty Spain since the 30th.

“We have always said that our DNA is that of the citizen movement. The natural step between a citizen movement and political action is the electoral group,” explains Saz. “What we are clear about is that our objective is to achieve this different model from Spain. If to achieve it we have to articulate other tools, we will do it,” says Saz, leaving the door open to use the formula of traditional political parties. What they are clear about is that, once they land on the political scene, citizen movements (the more than 160 platforms and associations that make up Empty Spain) will continue working at the same time, at their own speed. This is one of its hallmarks.

“The grouping of voters is practically a single loophole that leaves the law outside the political parties and is highly conditioned. It is constituted for each moment, for each electoral call. It does not accumulate historical rights,” Guitarte mentions. They will also have to find a solution, since in June they announced their desire to also attend municipal and regional elections.

Last week, the senator of Teruel Existe Beatriz Martín Larred (Bueña, 63 inhabitants) also registered the brand Aragón Existe in the registry of political parties. These movements (the TEx registry, the Aragón Existe and the Empty Spain registry) could be understood as a first step towards the transition to a political party. The deputy from Teruel Existe assures that it has been a “coincidence of dates” and that they do it to safeguard the name in case it is needed in the future. “It is a simple coincidence of dates. It is a process that we started a few months ago. We have realized that the success of the Teruel Existe formula is assuming many replications in other territories and we wanted to protect certain names so that they are not usurped. if at any time someone, with intentions that are not totally clear, would like to use those names, “says Guitarte, who adds that they have made the records” so that there is no possibility of an irruption of someone outside the movement who uses the public presence of the movement to condition it with the name “.

Could several electoral groups coexist at the same time?

The three defenders of Empty Spain consider that it could be the case that several acronyms with the same objectives come to coexist, as could be the case of Teruel Existe and Soria YA. Much remains to be decided, but Guitarte says that “they can coexist perfectly.” “There is no incompatibility. The issue is to know how to articulate it well and choose the way it can be combined,” he answers clearly.

On the one hand, there are the provincial projects and on the other the common objective, which concerns many territories and that is precisely what has caused them to come together. “In these months of reflection, I am convinced that we will find the appropriate formula so that the two presences, the territorial and the state level, can be combined,” he concludes.

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