January 15, 2021

The Cortes will ratify the Canary Islands Statute this week and it remains in the air to apply the new electoral system in 2019

The Cortes will ratify the Canary Islands Statute this week and it remains in the air to apply the new electoral system in 2019



The Senate Plenary will approve definitively Wednesday the reform of the Statute of Autonomy of the Canary Islands, that contemplates a new electoral system, although it remains in the air if it will already be of application in the autonomic elections of May of 2019.

The new Statute will enter into force once it is published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), after receiving the definitive approval of the Upper House, in which in principle Unidos Podemos will vote against the text and Ciudadanos (Cs) will will abstain

The statutory reform includes in a transitory provision the modification of the current electoral system in the Canary Islands, as well as a clause that establishes a period of three years for the regional Parliament to take forward its own electoral law.

Precisely, the initial goal was for Parliament to agree on the first Canarian electoral law in parallel to the processing of the new Statute, but the impossibility of sealing an agreement between all the formations led to a pact between the PP, the PSOE, Podemos and Nueva Canary Islands (NC) to vary the electoral rules via Statute.

CANAL COALITION, LAW; REST OF PARTIES, REGULATIONS

Until now, the transitory provision of the previous Canary Islands Statute was the one that had governed the electoral system of the archipelago. However, the president of the regional government, Fernando Clavijo, said on Thursday that the new provision that modifies the electoral system should be developed into a law to enter into force in the 2019 elections.

According to the president explained before intervening in the General Commission of Autonomous Communities of the Senate – which approved the opinion of the Statute to be discussed in plenary this Wednesday -, the Parliament and the Canarian groups are those who "have to work" so that the new electoral regime "can operate" in 2019 and, according to the position defended by himself and his party, Canary Coalition (CC), this must be done through a law.

The partisan formations of the change in the electoral system, on the contrary, maintain that a law is not necessary to sustain the transitory disposition of the new Statute, but with a regulation or with the decree itself of convocation of elections – which the president signs autonomic– the application of the electoral news can be solved.

The new system foresees an increase in the number of deputies from 60 to 70 –one more for Fuerteventura and nine that will come from a regional list–, as well as the reduction of the electoral caps to obtain representation in the Autonomous Chamber from six to four percent in each insular district and from 30 to 15 in the whole archipelago.

THE NEW SYSTEM FINDS THE TRIPLE PARITY

Likewise, the Statute establishes a range of between 50 and 75 deputies as minimum and maximum limits, which must take into account the future Canarian electoral law.

CC has been reluctant from the start to modify the electoral system, since it understands that upsetting the current triple parity harms the small islands. So far, the distribution of seats in the Canarian Parliament ensured that the two Canarian provinces had the same number of deputies – 30 each – that the two capital islands also had the same number – 15 parliamentarians for Tenerife, 15 for Gran Canaria – and that the aggregate of both was equivalent to the rest of the islands – 30 and 30–.

For its part, Cs, which was left without representation in the Canarian Parliament in 2015 with more than 54,000 votes for the three seats of Gomera Socialist Group (ASG) with more than 5,000 votes, abstained in the Congress of voting on the system electoral process when he understood that he lacked "ambition".

Coincided in this we can, which came to demand the single district during the processing in the lower house, but finally ruled in favor of the change introduced by accepting their condition that included the commitment to adopt their own electoral law in the three years after upon the entry into force of the Statute. CC was the only one who voted against.

GREATER SCHOOL DURING THE PROCESSING OF THE STANDARD

Undoubtedly, the electoral reform has been the main obstacle to the Statute. Podemos and Cs threatened from the beginning to vote against any text that did not change the electoral system, while CC accused the other formations of wanting to decide from Madrid the election of Canarian parliamentarians.

In fact, in 2007, the first attempt to provide the Canary Islands with a 'second generation statute' due to disagreements over the electoral system was frustrated.

MAIN NOVELTIES OF THE STATUTE AND REF

The Senate will not only approve the reform of the Statute on Wednesday, but also the new Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) of the archipelago.

The Statute, in addition to the change in the electoral system, includes the suppression of the appraisals, which will be effective in the next elections, so that those who present themselves to the elections will know that in the case of being elected they will not have the condition of graduated .

Constitutionally protects the REF and dissociates it from the general system of regional financing, recognizes La Graciosa as the eighth inhabited island, and grants the president the power to enact decrees law in case of urgent need and to dissolve Parliament to call early elections.

For its part, the REF includes the bonus of 75 percent on trips between the islands and the Iberian Peninsula for Canarian residents – so this item will no longer depend on the State Budget (PGE) -, grants aid to the desalination of water for agricultural use and destines a game of the PGE to fight poverty in the Canary Islands while the indicators of this community are at worse levels than the state average.

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