Corruption and the unsustainable unemployment rate mark the electoral campaign of these second general elections in Andalusia. After four consecutive victories of the PSOE in the last European, regional, municipal and general elections, the socialist party could face the loss of a fief with more than 30 years of loyalty. The latest data from the CIS reflect this in its last poll on June 9, in which PP and PSOE would tie 20 seats, Unidos Podemos would get 13 and Ciudadanos would remain around eight.
In Andalusia, since last December 20, hope and patience are over. Not even the service sector in the spring has been able to alleviate the unemployment of this community, which stands at 29.07 percent according to the Labor Force Survey of April 27, far exceeding the national average and the European. It is important to remember that during the 2014-2020 period, Andalusia will no longer be considered by the EU Objective 1 region, so that community aid will not be as abundant as it has been until now.
The consequences of corruption
Social services that have traditionally flagged southern socialism have also suffered the consequences of a misappropriation of funds and administrative prevarication, reflected in the prosecution of the presidents of the Junta de Andalucía Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán , two barons of socialism national and Andalusian that, without a doubt, have caused a deep impact between militants and supporters.
Susana Díaz, “political daughter” of both, will have to play her best cards in the remainder of the campaign if she wants to save the image of the game. Five years of instruction in the ERE case, change of judges, separation in pieces and 1.2 billion defrauded.
It is very difficult to calculate the result, but what is clear is that the opposition and especially United We can use mercilessly the conclusions repeated both by judge Mercedes Alaya and Álvaro Martín on the ERE case: “a clientelist network would have benefited from millions of euros distributed without respect to legality and with total discretion. ” Moreover, the formation of churches exposes that the sum of corruption costs Andalusia in 4,000 million euros.
Stock photograph of the Andalusian presidents José Antonio Griñán and Manuel Chaves.
The Popular Party also does not get rid of the corruption stain. On April 13, the mayor of Granada, José Torres Hurtado, and the town planning councilor, Isabel Nieto, were arrested for a presumed corrupt plot in the town hall of Granada that ended with 13 years of absolute popular majority. To combat this scourge, all political parties contain promises of goodwill in their programs, but so far, the only thing that has been approved in the Parliament of Andalusia unanimously proposed Citizens is to eliminate the assessments, which parties assume subsidiary civil liability in case of political corruption and prohibit the cancellation of loans to parties, among other issues.
The PSOE advocates transparency, something that can be seen in its portal as a pedagogical measure to create culture. The PP, for its part, proposes a pact for Justice in Andalusia that involves political parties, professionals, and unions in order to optimize public service.
Unidos Podemos is adamant in the prohibition of revolving doors and invites the creation of a Law of Clear and Open Accounts so that the numbers of the administration are public and can be consulted in real time. Only in Andalusia, this gesture would save 24 million euros a year. Citizens propose to return the fiscal control of the SICAV to the Tax Inspectorate, it would toughen the penalties of the most serious crimes such as tax havens, figureheads or organizations to commit crimes and increase the resources of the Tax Agency.
The great challenge of unemployment
A distrust of politics in cases of corruption in Andalusia is closely followed by the structural problem of unemployment. According to the latest Active Population Survey, 1,189,200 people are unemployed, that is, 29.07% of the inhabitants of the Andalusian community. This figure represents a slight decrease compared to last December (31.54%), but in either case, the situation of social emergency persists.
Since 2012, the average number of Andalusians who have had to emigrate abroad exceeds 1,000 per year, reaching a total of 105,237. At this point, parties also seem to agree: the PSOE calls for greater competitiveness based on added value, the PP reminds that every euro that goes to employment must be managed precisely for this and remember that the Prepares Plan already serves to 150,000 Andalusians who have exhausted the benefits with an extra allocation of 219 million euros.
United We could repeal the current labor reform and bet on a National Transition Plan giving a public impulse to sectors of high added value (knowledge economy or renewable energies). Citizens meanwhile stress that the stable contract would be the only guarantee of quality employment, an indefinite contract with increased compensation. As for the unemployed, Rivera’s party would provide direct training checks to workers to avoid intermediaries such as unions or business organizations.
Urgency in the execution of public works
Ozgur Unay, president of Engineering Consultants UG21, warns in the magazine Caminos Andalucía that the significant decrease in investment in these last years of crisis is being noticed both in the delays in the execution of some infrastructures projected and already begun in an orography as wide and varied as that of Andalusia. This is the case of the SE-40, the AVE lines to Granada (more than a year incommunicado) and Huelva, the transverse railway axis of Andalusia, the splitting of the A-4 between Cadiz and Seville, the construction of additional lines in existing meters, sewage treatment plants in many towns, channeling in towns that suffer floods year after year or the connection of State ports with the European rail network, infrastructures that will serve to improve the well-being of the population as well as the competitiveness of the productive economy.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic rail corridors seem to be a priority in the programs of all the parties that come to obtain representation in the Congress of Deputies. All of them mention them as “primordial” for the commercial and tourist development to the East and West of the community taking advantage of the location of Algeciras as kilometer zero.
More company and lower fiscal pressure
Andalusia is practically deindustrialized, only the poles of the Campo de Gibraltar in Cádiz or Huelva have a certain fabric. The last contrasted data of 2014 speak of the existence of 479,045 companies that employ 1,844,753 people, in a community of eight million inhabitants.
19.8% of the active population is an official, an unsustainable machinery in the midst of a crisis and at the same time uninspiring for the supplier companies. The premise “for and for Andalusia” is small and they look beyond their frontiers with universal products and services that can be exported in the short term. The investment in concentrations of work and talent such as the Andalusian Technology Park (PTA) in Malaga, which houses more than 600 companies, or the Cartuja Scientific and Technological Park (PTC Cartuja) in Seville with 370 companies, generating 14,500 jobs of work should be a priority in the investment in
The electoral proposals seem to be in tune with the unanimous petitions between businessmen and the self-employed: the reduction of the tax burden. Socialists put the accent on entrepreneurs who would have to facilitate financing and reduce bureaucratic obstacles. The popular continue insisting on the rate of 50 euros, now extended to one year, as a reduced fee for Social Security for self-employed.
Unidos Podemos proposes to diversify the industry by adding value to production, research, and development. As regards self-employment, it considers as a priority the equalization of the benefits of the Special Regime of Self-Employed Workers (RETA) to the General Social Security Scheme.
Citizens would carry out a tax reform in favor of the middle class, lowering the IRPF to less than 3%. In Andalusia, on January 1 came into force a linear reduction of two points in the regional income tax for income less than 60,000 euros, a saving for the taxpayer estimated at 250 euros per year. The VAT would be reduced to 18% and the self-employed would stop paying the Social Security fee if their income is below the Minimum Monthly Salary, always paying in proportion to their billing and benefits.
Tourism for today and tomorrow
The tourism sector represents 13% of GDP in Andalusia. Only in 2015, it received 26 million tourists according to the numbers of the Institute of Statistics and Cartography of Andalusia (IECA). But this success always has expiration date since it is irremediably tied to an alarming temporality. How to fight it?
The PSOE opts for the social dimension of tourism through the creation of specific products for people over 55, young people and people with disabilities. The PP defends a direct relationship between infrastructure and tourism sector. The popular reproach the PSOE that 40,000 jobs are waiting for the concession of opening bars on the beach.
Views from the Alhambra in Granada, the most visited monument
Unidos Podemos focuses on product differentiation based on values of the territory with important support for culture. To this, I would add the ability to influence the markets of origin, especially in Europe. Citizens defend a Strategic Tourism Plan with new segments, encouraging the modernization of offers and services to promote cultural and artistic heritage. They would enhance the structure of Tourspain with a philosophy of cooperation between the public and private sectors, as well as collaboration between autonomous communities and municipalities.