700 kilometers are nothing. The distance that separates León and Jaén, or Gijón and Cuenca, vanishes when it comes to fighting for “your own survival”. Because, as explained by those responsible, that is what Empty Spain is about. A project born to “get politics out of the M-30” and to unite those territories that want to flee the “systematic abandonment of a territorial model that has been failing for some time.”
A few years after the irruption of Teruel It exists in the Congress and Senate and of Soria Now in Castilla y León, Empty Spain faces the first of its ‘D-days’ this Sunday. The dream that no one hides is to reach Congress with their own group, but many of these options go through 28-M first: the municipal and territorial ballot boxes will decide if the brand remains as a parliamentary anecdote or is key on the agenda of the next legislature .
Four autonomous communities (Aragón, La Rioja, Asturias and Castilla-La Mancha), 13 provinces and 233 municipalities will be able to choose a ballot for many unknown this Sunday. That of “those of us who are tired of promises and have seen that we enter the institutions or there is no way,” he tells El HuffPost Sergio Díez, organization secretary of the España Vaciada platform. These ideas, he continues, materialize in “a development model for the entire country, a plan to seek a state pact against depopulation, for the implementation of renewable energy and to strengthen public services.”
For this reason, he insists on that mantra that they are “neither from the left nor from the right”, since “more than ideological lines we have programmatic lines” and he refuses that “there are parts of Spain abandoned”. “The left-right concept has been outdated over time and if it is maintained it is because it benefits tension. We are a transversal movement,” adds Ángel Corpa, candidate for Cuenca and historic founder of the Jarcha group. His leap into politics at the age of 71 has attracted attention, but he assures that turning his face to problems “does not make it easier to find solutions.” For this reason, he believes it is “logical” that parties such as those representing Empty Spain should be born. “People are fed up and we have to keep going,” he admits.
Raúl Bustillo, candidate from Aragón Exists for Zaragoza.
Tomás Guitarte is, to this day, the most visible face of this movement. The deputy for Teruel He exists in Congress in this last legislature, he now aspires to be president of the Government of Aragon. The polls give him between two and four decisive seats for the sum of a majority in the regional parliament. “Any result will be good because it is the first time that we are presenting ourselves in regional elections. But for the consolidation of this project it would be important to have our own group in the Cortes and be able to influence the decisions of the Aragonese government,” Guitarte pointed out in conversation with El HuffPost.
The national deputy boasts of having made “around 60%” of the program “agreed with Pedro Sánchez” a reality throughout this legislature, which would give a useful meaning to his presence in Congress, although he regrets not having reached an agreement State pact against depopulation “Spain needs this agreement, a model very similar to the one adopted in Germany after reunification and with a stable financing mechanism. All political formations are in favor of achieving it, but sometimes some courage is lacking to apply structural measures, such as the strategic reindustrialization that this country needs to be carried out in depopulated Spain or decentralizing the administrative headquarters and public companies. And that courage will only come if we are capable of being present in the institutions. For this reason, we are presenting ourselves in the elections”, he maintains.
All the candidates consulted take it for granted that, in order to be heard, “everything” goes through reaching the Parliaments… but also entering the governments that result from 28-M? “It’s not enough for us just to enter. We want to make our measures heard. If that happens by entering governments… well, we’ll see,” explains Sergio Díez.
Guitarte is aware of the key role that his party can have in Aragon, although he marks an important red line: Vox. “We will not be in a government alongside the extreme right or supported by it,” he warns after in a recent interview It will leave the door open to an executive with the PP supported from outside by Vox. “It is a formation with which we have no point in common. Neither its position before the Constitution, nor its approach to autonomies or its attitude towards gender policies,” he details. An opinion that is also shared by Raúl Burillo, the candidate from Aragón Exists for the Zaragoza city council. “To fix the tiles on a street, we will talk to Vox. To agree on a budget, never. The city model they have is the opposite of ours,” he warns.
Sergio Díez, organization secretary of España Vaciada
In the capital of Aragon, the options of the platform according to the different surveys are minimal. But, what is it like to present yourself as a representative of Empty Spain in the fifth most populous city in Spain? Faced with this apparent contradiction, Burillo reasons that the future of Aragon inevitably passes through its capital. “Zaragoza must look at the emptied Spain with different eyes and stop seeing this problem as something distant. The city has to extend its economic potential throughout the Aragonese territory and be aware that it has to support this balanced growth throughout the region “says the candidate. In his opinion, fighting against the degradation of neighborhoods or the lack of cohesion within the city itself also goes beyond signifying oneself as left or right.
“Is building a tram to the right or to the left? Is changing the management of transport to make it public is it to the right or to the left? We are in favor of those who have more paying more, but also of spending control public or curb the waste of subsidies. We are not going to enter into that simple debate,” he warns.
The feeling of the candidate for Zaragoza is similar to that of another emerging politician in Jaén. There the social phenomenon of Empty Spain includes an independent brand, that of Jaén Deserves More. After brushing against a deputy in the regional elections in June 2022, they are now presenting themselves to the provincial capital and numerous municipalities with real options to “influence”. “In Jaén the polls give us 4-5 seats out of the 27 and that means having influence,” explains the head of his list, Manuel Carlos Vallejo.
Manuel Carlos Vallejo, candidate of Jaén Deserves More in Jaén
This university professor also flees from the left-right dichotomy because “we are independent, we have an urgency that is Jaén and in our case we do not owe ourselves to a boss in Madrid or Seville.” His fight, he assures, is not against an ideology, but against “the social fear of positioning itself outside of bipartisanship; that historical dominance is a difficult dynamic to break and public pressure is noticeable.”
But Vallejo, like Corpa, does not want to turn his face to the problems either. “The 50 years of democratic system show you that either you wake up or you don’t get anything. Teruel has achieved this legislature more investment than in the rest of democracy with a deputy. And if you get your own group, imagine the ability to influence”, considers Vallejo, who thinks not only about the municipal ones, but also about the general ones in December.
The future after 28-M
There his formation could integrate the unitary candidacy of España Vaciada, as long as they solve the internal “cracks” after a “strange” vote by Teruel Existe, which abstained due to “error” —explain those responsible— in a question about the AVE in Jaen. “The idea is to have a single voice in Spain, but our presence is conditional on those mistakes not happening again,” he says.
Tomás Guitarte, leader of Teruel Existe and candidate for the Government of Aragon
These discrepancies with ‘close’ formations, are assumed by Sergio Díez, who values them as something “differentiating” with respect to other acronyms. “They show a reality, that we are not going to have a central office that forces us to vote the same in León, Cuenca or Teruel. Although we have an idea of the country, we understand that each territory has a singularity. Of course, we will never go is in against one territory to benefit another,” he explains.
And what future awaits the emptied Spain? The candidate for Zaragoza, Raúl Burillo, complains that the platform always has to “justify” its existence. “They ask us what we paint in the political landscape when it is clear and obvious that a part of Spain has been emptied and another has benefited from the economic development of recent decades. We will be waging war until the citizens who live in these Depressed areas don’t have to face their current problems. Hopefully we will disappear one day. It would be a good sign,” he says.
In this sense, Guitarte defends Empty Spain as “the only alternative after decades of institutional oblivion”. “It seems like a local issue, but it is not. It is a problem of the country model. Many people who do not live in unpopulated areas already tell us that they share our vision of what the development of Spain should be like. The only thing that is clear is that we are not coming to be nobody’s crutch,” he says.
Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.
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