The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) wants to hold primaries that are open to the public, as has just been done by the French Socialist Party in its search for a candidate for next year's presidential elections (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The PSC is seeking ways to recover support from voters following its poor showing in the recent municipal and Generalitat elections, and following two decades of making the most of being a homogeneous organisation where decisions are taken unanimously and there has been no room for improvisation, they are now seeking inspiration in the French model, which achieved a notable success, both in terms of media coverage and participation; around two million people took part in the first round of votes last weekend. The PSC will hold its annual congress on December 18th and the three candidates for the post of first secretary of the party, Àngel Ros, Pere Navarro and Joan Ignasi Elena will propose the primary and universal elections as an obligatory mechanism for the election of candidates for the Spanish general, Catalan and municipal elections. The party's current spokesman, Miquel Iceta, and the candidate for next month's Spanish general elections, Carme Chacón, have also publicly defended this format, which goes beyond what is contained in the current statutes of the PSC. These do allow for primary elections, but in a restrictive model, requiring candidates to have the support of the PSC national council or the signatures of 10 percent of members; in addition, the right to vote is only afforded to members and affiliated supporters.
The Spanish government has announced that 53 Catalan towns will not receive money due to them from the state for this month (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). The Treasury Ministry (Hisenda or Hacienda in Castilian) will retain the funds from the councils concerned because they have not yet fulfilled the obligation of settling their budgets for 2010. The transfers that are being postponed, which represent 25 percent of the income for these councils in many cases, will be released once the final accounts for last year are presented, in stipulation with the law for sustainable economy, which obliges the Spanish government to penalise town councils for not fulfilling their duties. The towns affected are 25 in the area of Barcelona, 12 in Tarragona, 11 in Lleida and five in Girona, making a total of 5.6 percent of the towns in Catalunya. Throughout Spain, the number of towns and cities that haven't finalised their 2010 budgets is 1,022 (12.6 percent of the total), and the amount of money that will be held this month is around €13.5 million. Last year, when this form of punishment had not yet come into force, the number of towns that returned their budgets within the period established was less than 50 percent.
Spain's retail price index (Índice de Precios de Consumo or IPC) rose two points last month compared to August (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The end of the summer sales was one of the causes of the inflation increase and left the annual rate up by one tenth of a percentage point at 3.1 percent, following four months of decreases, according to a report released today by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística). It said that other reasons for the rise were the increase in the cost of transport, and alcoholic drinks and tobacco; transport costs went up by 0.40 percent in September, while the other two became more expensive by almost four points. Food and non-alcoholic drinks also became more expensive with a new annual inflation rate of 2.3 percent, a result of the cost of fish and diary products rising.