EDITORIAL

Ciudadanos, the party of discord and social divide

Is Ciudadanos a party that needs a social fracture to grow?

Nobody could deny the success it was for a brand new party like Ciudadanos to have ended up in first place in the Catalan elections on December 21st. Nor the impact that this will have for the political future in Catalonia. However, being the party with the most votes doesn't grant it a blank check to do whatever it wants. On the contrary, after receiving one million one hundred thousand votes, Ciudadanos (Cs) will have to act with a higher dose of reality. And that is precisely what it is not doing at the moment.

In the last day or so the principal leaders of Cs, Albert Rivera, Inés Arrimadas, and Juan Carlos Girauta, have used their Twitter accounts to spread the concept of Tabàrnia, an invention of a pro-Spain group that defends the separation from Catalonia of districts where pro-independence parties received less than 50% of the vote. Thus, according to those behind the initiative --a group called Barcelona is Not Catalonia--, the Tarragona coast plus Barcelona and its metropolitan area would become an autonomous community within Spain while the rest of Catalonia, which it portrays as a fanaticized and unproductive territory, could become independent. The problem is not so much the seriousness or viability of this proposal (of which it has none), but rather what is behind it. That is, the intent to stir up division between Catalans, now not only by place of birth or language spoken, but also based on territory: the coast vs. the interior, cities vs. small towns.

It would be highly irresponsible for a political party like Ciudadanos to allow itself the luxury to engage in trivializing such issues, if there were not a political agenda behind it. During the campaign, Cs candidate Inés Arrimadas was heard appealing for votes on the basis of the place of birth of a person's ancestors in a speech molded on identity, and now they are again insisting on driving a wedge in social coexistence and promoting a social chasm.

It is a shame that Arrimadas' commitment to be "the president of all Catalans" and her moderate tone have lasted for such a short time. Just as long as it took her to realize that she would not be president. Will Cs continue down this path, that of discord and confrontation, instead of extending a hand to the winners of the election so as to guarantee a loyal and constructive opposition? Or perhaps it is a party that needs a social fracture to grow?