BarcelonaChimo Puig (Morilla, 1959) succeeded in breaking 20 years of Popular Party governments in the Valencian region, and headed the general government between 2015 and 2023, when he lost the elections against all odds. He is now preparing to leave the presidency of the Socialist Party in Valencia.
An amnesty report has begun in Congress, a measure I advocated. Why does it feel right?
The pursuit of reunification and harmony is essential, and in 2017 there was a high degree of irresponsibility on all sides. Politics has two basic issues: dialogue and defending the rule of law. Now we see that the rule of law was not only questioned by pro-independence parties, but that state agencies were used against certain political parties. This is the most dangerous thing that has happened in Spain in recent decades.
Is defending amnesty considered the majority position within the Socialist Party?
– It is a complex situation, but the PSOE has expressed its support for the measures taken by Pedro Sánchez. I believe this is an exercise of enormous responsibility towards coexistence.
There are polls that indicate that extremists do not see this well.
– It is a process that will depend a lot on how it is produced and how it ends. But boldness is necessary in politics. Suarez's decision to legitimize the Communist Party received no support at all, not even from those who appointed him. But politics cannot be done on the basis of ballot boxes.
I mentioned the Catalonia process before. What should be done to correct these practices?
– Find out everything that happened, because it is very dangerous. It's kind of super-Watergate. The case that cost Nixon the presidency was the case of party spying. This goes further, as it calls into question the rule of law.
Is this the most dangerous thing that has happened to democracy?
– I think so. This means using all state apparatuses to provide cover for a party and a specific choice of that political space.
There has been information about the National Police for 10 years, six of them ruled by the Socialist Workers' Party, and the cry has not been raised yet. Does it have anything to do with the fact that there is a need for rapprochement with Gontz?
– Not now, but now it's worse. I think this goes beyond Junts, I would even say Catalonia. Who knows if this method of behavior has been applied in other places. I worry that this can be demonstrated from the state itself, because institutionalization is key.
There has been talk of some formula to encourage companies that have left to return to Catalonia. Many left for Valencia. What is your opinion?
The best campaign the Catalan government can run is to generate maximum stability and confidence. Companies are located where they are comfortable. We have always viewed this localization process as an opportunity to improve competitiveness, but never in a confrontation with Catalonia or as an anti-Catalonia process.
But does this seem like a good move?
– At this moment I don't think this is the way. Companies make decisions that are consistent with them.
Do you believe in federal Spain?
-I think this is the best solution for Spain.
– It's not easy. Madariaga said,Spain needs a long conversation“. And I think he needs it. When someone like the President of Madrid says that she recognizes herself as a pre-Islamic Spain, we have a problem. What are we talking about? There is even a historical falsification. Pluralism in Spain precedes the constitution. And the state of autonomy is meaningless just to give a solution to Catalonia The Basque Country, the reality in Spain is completely different, and we have to make coexistence possible.
A federal Spain also requires a conversation between socialists.
-We also have different attitudes depending on where we were born. The presence of one language in the region does not mean the presence of two languages, but rather it constitutes a biography and different feelings.
He has always been in favor of constitutional reform. Wouldn't you be more conservative today?
-We should try not to do that. I have had debates with Mr. Figo, and now I do not know him on some approaches, and I believe that many leaders of the People's Party can defend the idea of federalism. But we now live in a political football that is in many ways absurd, and the positioning of the right and the far right makes it impossible to converge. But at some point this has to change, because the Constitution cannot die painfully. Those who love him must know that he needs to change.
Al-Istiqlal continues to demand a referendum.
– At this moment, I do not see that the matter is neither urgent nor a solution.
At what point would you say relations between Catalonia and the Valencian state are?
One of my ambitions in 2015 specifically was to restore the relationship, because we had gone through twenty years of the Cold War. I came to Catalonia, Puigdemont came to Valencia and we identified the possibility of holding a series of meetings between the two governments. But when the process began, Catalonia stopped looking at Valencia. So much so that we held a summit for the Mediterranean Corridor, promoted by Valencian businessmen, who came to Barcelona, and which the then President Torra did not attend. The approach of the Valencian business people was sincere and positive and I believe that this response generated great rejection on the part of the Valencians.
Have you spoken to Puigdemont again since then?
– Unfortunately not, but I hope we can talk in the future.
Why are relations between the two regions so expensive?
— The right has an anchor in anti-Catalanism, but I think Valencian society now is mostly not anti-Catalan. But the right still plays this role, and in the cultural sphere, it is very negative how they try to confront language and culture.
Is the language in danger?
-Everything is always in danger, isn't it? But three centuries passed without any official status and Valencia remained. We must now make a civic effort to ensure that we are not only in a position of resistance, but that we move forward so that both official languages have the same opportunities.
Key issue: financing reform. Is such a legislative council possible?
– It is clear that it is necessary to provide the autonomous regions with financial sufficiency and to redistribute resources appropriately. It is necessary to update the model that produces inequality.
It has been nearly eight months since 28 AD. Does life change much outside the Palau de la Generalitat?
— Yes, especially because of the wear and tear it means to make decisions constantly. Reducing pressure also helps you see everything at a certain distance.
He chose to match the regional elections with the municipal elections, which turned into a referendum against Sánchez. If you came back, would you change it?
– probably. To say that you will not change anything in history is the problem of lack of intelligence. If we were all given different opportunities, we would do our best to make them appear differently.
We are waiting to find out what will happen to the socialist leadership in Valencia.
Congress must be called during the first quarter to elect a new leader, and allow time to build an alternative. We must continue to make progress on two essential elements: on the one hand, permanent openness to the social majority, and the ability to generate trust outside our ideological zone; On the other hand, the truth about Valencia.
How do you imagine the future?
– I would like to help form a progressive government in the Valencian region and maintain an open policy in Spain that understands the multinational reality. On a personal level, I do what I love: reading, listening and walking.
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