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reforming the Asturian autonomy statute

 
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MensaxePublicao: Sab Avi 23, 2006 5:59 pm    Asuntu: reforming the Asturian autonomy statute Responder citando

For those unaware of the situation, there has been a second-wave of negotiations with Madrid to further decentralize Spain, kicked off by the Catalans in 2005-06. Asturias, once again, threatens to be at the tail-end of the negotiations. The editorial below appeared in this week's edition of Les Noticies, an Asturian-language weekly, and speaks of shiftless inaction on the part of the ruling PSOE and opposition PP. If anyone is interested in the original Asturian-language version, I can also post that.

Some questions to ask, IMO: Why does the Asturian political class not address specifically Asturian problems? Why is there a fear of making demands that are considered standard elsewhere?

Les Noticies, 12/24/2006
Self-complacency

Self-complacency. That’s the word that could sum up the 25th anniversary celebrations of autonomous rule (devolution for Asturias), which policymakers now insist was an exemplary path to self-rule through article 143 of the constitution, the so-called ‘slow path’ for ‘regions’ with minimal aspirations of self-government. The pride with which those middling ambitions are currently being characterized makes one think that the amendments to the autonomy statute for Asturias, which will take place in the next legislature [after local elections in May 2007], will again be of the same middling spirit. That, at least, is what politicians in Asturias and a greater part of the intelligentsia that drafted the original autonomy statute are thinking when they are about to replicate the same strategy 25 years down the road. The argument in favor of immobility is that the 25-year-old statute yielded very good results, although bizarrely no one points to what those results are in practice. It is true that a large part of the regional powers stipulated by the Spanish constitution [of 1978] were devolved to the local parliament and that self-government has made some headway. But while other territories in Spain demand more tools to address local problems, the amendments to the autonomy statute of Asturias are being addressed only by inertia. In addition, the legal changes are informed by the assumption that the Spanish state and the wider European context are at the center of it all, in detriment of Asturias and its specific circumstances. Seen that way, Asturias is nothing more than a passive agent that needs to react to whatever lies ahead.
This scant interest in making Asturias more of a pro-active agent is patent in the Xunta Xeneral (local parliament). In early December, the PSOE (ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) came out in passionate defense of amending the constitution to allow women the option of succeeding to the Spanish Crown, while the opposition PP (Partido Popular) rose to the occasion making an aside against policies followed by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [Spain’s Prime Minister] in the peace talks with the Basques. The scene could not have been more disheartening: two parties that explicitly renounce to giving Asturias a voice of its own, instead using the local—peripheral—parliament to act out a simulacrum of a solution to the larger problems of the Spanish state, otherwise debated in Madrid. The same thing happens whenever there are hearings about a putative amendment to the autonomy statute: the executive, Vicente Alvarez Areces, dedicates a large part of his parliamentary sessions to lauding the policies of Rodriguez Zapatero, as well as to reminisce about the past by resorting to an entire inventory of lofty successes—so much so, that one can hardly imagine reaching any higher. On the other hand, Ovidio Sanchez [head of the opposition PP] shows more interest in Catalonia than the leader of Esquerra Republicana [Catalonia’s Republican Left party] himself, Carod Rovira. Meanwhile, Izquierda Xunida-Bloque por Asturies [United Left in coalition with the Asturian Bloc] manages to stand its ground dialectically, but seems unable to make the quantum leap that would allow it to leverage its force in order to address the truly important issues, such as the amendment to the autonomy statute. To approach the upcoming legal changes without considering Asturias’ current and specific problematic amounts to another 25 years of shiftless inaction. And this waywardness would put Asturias at the continued mercy of a political class that is afraid of responsibility, or, in other words, irresponsible.
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MensaxePublicao: Dom Avi 24, 2006 12:45 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

This editorial mentions PSOE, PP, and Izquierda Xunida-Bloque por Asturies [United Left in coalition with the Asturian Bloc]. Are there other political parties that are addressing these concerns with reasonable proposals? Or is the entire political irresponsible and clueless (incompetent)?

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Este editorial menciona a PSOE, PP, y Izquierda Xunida-Bloque por Asturies. ¿Hay otros partidos políticas que estén tratandosobre estas preocupaciones con propuestas razonables? ¿O está la totalidad de la élite política irresponsable y negada (incapaz)?
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MensaxePublicao: Dom Avi 24, 2006 5:51 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Eiquí vei la version n'asturiano de l'editorial de Les Noticies del vienres cabeiru (24 d'avientu 2006).


Les Noticies, 24/12/2006
Autocomplacencia

Autocomplacencia. Esa ye la pallabra que resume la celebración de los 25 años d’autonomía, na que s’insitió nel modélicu accesu d’Asturies a un incipiente autogobiernu pela vía lenta del artículu 143 de la Constitución, redactáu pa les ‘rexones’ con mínimes aspiraciones autonomistes. L’arguyu con que se recuerden les escases ambiciones d’aquel momentu fai tarrecer que la reforma estatutaria prevista pa la próxima llexislatura tea marcada otra vuelta pol mesmu espíritu. Asina parez pensar la clas política asturiana y bona parte de la intelectualidá que llideró’l procesu daquella y que cinco lustros depués apuesta por repitir estratexes. L’argumentu d’apoyu al inmovilismu ye que l’Estatutu de va 25 años dio mui bonos resultaos, anque naide nun diz en qué s’espeyen na práctica esos resultaos. Ciertamente tresfiriéronse la mayor parte de les competencies estipulaes na Constitución y foi avanzándose nel autogobiernu, pero mentes que n’otros territorios del Estau se van reclamando más ferramientes coles qu’iguar los problemes propios nos que’l suxetu ye’l contextu estatal y l’europeu, cuando habíen ser los complementos circunstanciales, y Asturies nun ye otro qu’un oxetu-pasivu qu’ha responder a lo que se-y echa enriba.
El mínimu interés por mirar p’Asturies como suxetu d’acción política rescampla davezu na Xunta Xeneral. El PSOE asturianu defendía con pasión a primeros d’avientu la modificación de la Constitución pa permitir que les muyeres puean optar a ser sucesores a la Corona, mentes que’l partíu la oposición, el PP, echaba en cara al grupu socialista la política siguida per Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero no tocante al procesu de paz nel País Vascu. La escena nun podía ser más desoladora: dos partíos qu’explícitamente renuncien a qu’Asturies tenga una voz propia aprovechen l’hemiciclu de la periferia pa faer un simulacru d’arreglu de los grandes problemes, de los que se discuten en Madrid. Lo mesmo pasa cada vegada que se mienta la posible reforma del Estatutu d’Autonomía: el líder del Executivu, Vicente Alvarez Areces, caltiénse na llinia de dedicar bona parte de les sos intervenciones a afalagar la política de Rodríguez Zapatero y la otra a mirar al pasáu faciendo un recuentu d’éxitos, que tal paez que más p’arriba nun se pue llegar. Pela so parte, Ovidio Sánchez amuesa más interés per Cataluña qu’el mesmu líder d’Esquerra Republicana, Carod Rovira. Mentanto, Izquierda Xunida-Bloque por Asturies caltién el pulsu a nivel dialécticu, anque nun ye quien a dar el saltu—sacante excepciones en dalgún área específica—de plantase y poner condicionantes serios en cuestiones trescendentales, como ye’l casu de la reforma estatutaria. Nun abordar la próxima reforma del Estatutu atendiendo a les necesidaes especifiques y actuales d’Asturies, ye condenase a otros 25 años d’autonomía al debalu y a caltener nel poder a una clas política a la que-y asusta la responsabilidá o, lo que ye lo mesmo, irresponsable.
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MensaxePublicao: Mar Avi 26, 2006 1:06 pm    Asuntu: The shiftless and the clueless Responder citando

Apparently, the ruling Socialists (PSOE/FSA) wanted to begin debates on the new autonomy statute in 2006. So did IX-Bloque por Asturies, although not on the same terms.

However, since a qualified majority is needed, the PP (conservative opposition) decided they preferred to wait until after regional elections in May 2007, in which they hope to reach a higher representation in the Xunta Xeneral. They de facto put a halt to the reform debates.

There are other 'fringe' parties, so to speak, because they are not represented in the local parliament: PAS-URAS (a pro-Asturian center-right coalition led by Sergio Marques and Xuan Xose Sanchez), Andecha Astur (also pro-Asturian, left of the spectrum, now in an internal renewal process of its own), IAS (again left in the spectrum and pro-Asturian; not sure where they stand on most things). These parties would help diversify the political landscape if they were to have a voice.

The problem with the mainstream Spanish parties, with their subsidiaries/franchises in Asturias, is that they are beholden to Madrid. Structurally, that gives you a sub-optimal opportunity to negotiate a better deal on a regional statute because your ultimate interests lie elsewhere.

I'll look up some game theory stuff to see if I can explain this simply in a further email. It would help people understand why there is so much immobility--and indeed immoveability--in Asturian politics.

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