Photo by Patricia Esteve
La Diada, September 11th
Celebrating Catalunya's national day
The three governing parties of the tripartite and the main opposition party will continue their talks today about what to do regarding the fate of the Catalan Statute (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Generalitat president José Montilla and the opposition leader Artur Mas will meet today at the traditional Sant Jordi event held at the Palau de Pedralbes, providing another opportunity for them to consider what action should be taken in response to the extended discussions by the Spanish Constitutional Court regarding the Catalan Statute, which have now lasted over three years without resolution.The four Catalan parties hope to reach agreement regarding taking the initiative on pressuring the Spanish government and opposition party to change the members of the court—four of those sitting on the Constitutional Court saw their mandate run out at the end of 2007, but both prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and opposition leader Mariano Rajoy have said now is not an appropriate time to change the make-up of the court following its long-running efforts to pass a sentence in response to the appeals brought by Rajoy's party against the Statute claiming that it is not constitutional. While the talks between the Catalan Socialist Party and Convergència i Unió (the opposition party) have thrown up various differences on how best to seek a change in the court, there is fundamental agreement that this is the best way to end the deadlock that has hovered over the Statute since it was approved by the Catalan and Spanish parliaments, and Catalan citizens in a referendum, in 2006. As such, it isn't expected that an agreed resolution will appear before the start of next week.
The diada de Sant Jordi has arrived with no clear bestseller set to dominate the lists of sales (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Unlike last year, when the Swedish writer Steig Larsson's book The man who didn't love women clearly topped the charts and in 2008, when it was Shadow of the Wind sequel The Angel's Game that dominated the day, this April 23rd sees a more even playing-field and a chance for the smaller editorials to compete more equally with the bigger publishing houses. It is expected that recent prize-winners and finalists will attract the attention of those deciding which book to buy, such as La bailarina y el inglés (The dancer and the Englishman) by Emilio Calderon and Egosurfing by Llúcia Ramis. This year will be the second that electronic books have a presence amongst the book-sellers of Barcelona, although shops aren't convinced that they will take away the role of protagonist from traditional paper books any time soon, especially on such a well-loved day as Sant Jordi.
FC Barcelona is calling on supporters to fill the Camp Nou stadium next Wednesday for the team's decisive match against Inter de Milan, where a place in the Champions League final is at stake (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Following Tuesday's 3-1 defeat at the Milanese team's San Siro stadium, the first time that the team had lost by two goals since Pep Guardiola took over as trainer, a campaign to motivate fans has been started in the hope that a full Camp Nou will encourage players to get the necessary two goals (or more if Inter score in Barcelona) to see Barça win a place in the final in Madrid on May 22nd.For the moment, the majority of efforts are being made via on-line social network sites, so as not to distract from tomorrow's league match against Jerez, another crucial game as Barcelona only lead rivals Real Madrid by one point at the top of the league, with five matches remaining. However, fans are being asked to wear team shirts on Wednesday and to bring talismans that mark other times that the team has fought back to win a crucial game, to create a special and, they hope, victorious, atmosphere at the Camp Nou.
Also in the news: Catalan parties clash over policy regarding the wearing of scarves by Muslim girls in schools (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); PP municipal politician suggests changing name of Montjuïc stadium from Lluis Companys to Juan Antonio Samaranch (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Spanish education minister defends Catalunya's linguistic model, which sees Catalan as the principal language in which classes are given in public schools (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).