Tuesday, July 5

For Andalusia challenges the electoral debates of Canal Sur to expel Teresa Rodríguez

The left-wing coalition Por Andalucía, led by IU and Podemos, presented this Friday before the Andalusian Electoral Board an appeal against the coverage plan of the Canal Sur campaign that included Teresa Rodríguez in the debates between candidates, in the distribution of the informative spaces and the interviews of the candidates in the elections of June 19.

The confluence requires the expulsion of the leader of Adelante Andalucía, arguing that the doctrine of the Central Electoral Board excludes candidates from formations without parliamentary representation in the last regional elections. The RTVE coverage plan will also appeal, for the same reasons, before the relevant deadline runs out, next Monday.

The appeal of Por Andalucía becomes effective after an internal debate between the six parties that make up the coalition, where not all agreed to challenge the presence of Teresa Rodríguez and prolong the pulse between the left, which is overshadowing its candidate, Inmaculada Nieto, and her campaign start. “The provision of the Coverage Plan referring to the participation of the Adelante Andalucía coalition in the celebration of the two television debates for all of Andalusia must be suppressed, limiting said debates, in terms of participation, to the political parties with parliamentary representation, and to the groups significant politicians”, reads the resource, to which this newspaper has had access.

Andalusia has registered its appeal in writing before the Electoral Board at the last minute -the deadline expired at 12:00 noon this Friday- and its communication team has not reported it, contrary to what Vox and Andaluces Levantaos did, who yesterday announced their resources to the coverage plan with separate press releases. Parliamentary sources have confirmed the entry of the letter from the coalition headed by Inmaculada Nieto. The woman from Cádiz has 48 hours to present allegations before the Andalusian Electoral Board decides.

Rodríguez’s loophole to stay within the debates, which he will include in his defense statement, is that his group falls under the category of “significant” formation, an exception that the Electoral Board introduced in 2011 for parties and coalitions that, even without have parliamentary representation, obtained equal to or more than 5% of the vote count in other electoral processes within the same territorial area (Andalusia).

This consideration would be provided by one of the Andalusian parties that are now integrated into the Adelante brand -Primavera Andalucista- which obtained “528 councilors after receiving 7.59% of the votes in Andalusia as a whole” in the 2019 municipal elections. Electoral Andaluza rejected this argument last Monday in a resolution that denied Rodríguez the advance payment of subsidies for campaign expenses corresponding to Adelante Andalucía in 2018.

The regulatory body maintains that the new Adelante is not the same one that participated in the elections three and a half years ago, despite having the same name. “The electoral coalitions are constituted specifically for each electoral process, that is to say, they only subsist until the end of the mandate of the representative body”, reads the resolution.

The doctrine of the Central Electoral Board

The electoral space in the coverage of the campaign has always been shared by the parties that had parliamentary representation in the past elections. But in 2011 that changed with the irruption in the public debate of two emerging forces –Podemos and Ciudadanos–, still without seats. An instruction from the JEC of that same year –extended in 2015– tried to adapt the general rule to the new political reality to accommodate parties that did not yet have representation, but were already “significant”.

This JEC instruction is published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) of April 21, 2015 and is the one that Por Andalucía has presented before the Andalusian Electoral Board. The resolution obliges the public media to provide parties without representation, but significant, with informative coverage “which cannot be equal to or greater than that dedicated to the candidacies that won” seats in the last elections. But what is considered a “significant” party?

The Electoral Board stresses that such a definition “must result from objective data”, namely: “those formations that, despite not having presented themselves in the previous equivalent elections [andaluzas] or not having obtained representation, subsequently, in recent electoral processes and in the territorial scope of the broadcast medium [municipales, generales o europeas dentro de Andalucía]have obtained a number of votes equal to or greater than 5% of the valid votes cast”.

And it adds: “In the case of electoral coalitions, they can only be considered a significant political group when some of the political parties that compose it comply by themselves” with this requirement. In the municipal elections of 2019, the Provincial Electoral Board of Madrid recognized the IU-Madrid en Pie coalition as a “significant political group” for the results obtained in the general elections of that same year by the United We Can coalition, in which it was also integrated UI. The legal managers of Por Andalucía defend that the new Adelante Andalucía fails to meet a basic criterion – none of its current members concurred in 2018 and obtained a seat – and, therefore, it is not considered a significant group.

The internal debate that the coalition has experienced in the face of the situation of requesting or not the expulsion of Rodríguez from the debates is perceived in the explanatory statement, where Por Andalucía clings to the current regulations and the doctrines already mentioned. “We must establish an initial premise that, although it seems obvious, it is necessary to remember”, advances the letter: “that the democratic principle, much more in its projection in electoral matters and even more in regard to the informative treatment of the media Communication, especially public, must be expressed and guaranteed through scrupulous compliance with the rules. In this matter, respect for the rules is essential so that arbitrariness and discretion do not emerge that distort or pervert the formation of the highest democratic bodies of our society through the vote of the citizenry”, he concludes.