The Catalan Socialist Party and the Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (Green) party, both members of the current Generalitat, have clashed over plans to increase income tax for higher earners in Catalunya (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Leader of the Greens, Joan Saura, has said that it is essential that this IRPF (income) tax rise take place and that the terms of the increase are decided at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting. Saura was speaking in response to words from the Generalitat’s finance minister, Antoni Castells, who said at the weekend that his department had a month to put together a proposal regarding the fiscal change, and also opened the door to the possibility of “other fiscal measures”. The timescale for implementing such a change is the root of friction between these two parties that make up the tripartite currently governing in Catalunya—Iniciativa has threatened to withdraw its support for the government’s wider austerity measures if the fiscal change isn’t made as soon as possible. Saura said that the Catalan Socialist Party was well aware of his party’s position, following discussions over the weekend. The two parties have also had disagreements about the future of salaries for civil servants (funcionarios) – contrary to what Castells has said, Saura stressed that measures would be adopted to gradually recover their current salaries from 2014, if the economic situation allows it.
Today marks the final full day that hopefuls to take over from Joan Laporta as president of FC Barcelona can seek the support of the club’s members to get the necessary number of signatures to see them officially become candidates in the presidential elections due on June 13th (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Tomorrow, all those who want to stand in the elections have to show that they have the backing of at least 2,095 socis of Barça; so far, only Sandro Rosell and Jaume Ferrer have gathered the necessary support to go forward into the election. Meanwhile, Marc Ingla, Agustí Benedito, Santi Salvat, Jaume Guixà and Alexis Plaza, who are all hoping to join Rosell and Ferrer on the ticket, have just a few hours left to get the sufficient number of socis behind them. There have been complaints that the current board of directors has not provided sufficient access to the members of the sports club for those who want to campaign within the football stadium and various buildings that make up the Camp Nou (such as the basketball court); this means that all the hopefuls have had to focus their efforts on their campaign headquarters, scattered around Barcelona, and finding businesses around the city to act as points for gathering signatures. “We’ve all started with 1,500 or 3,000 less votes, because on match days, we could have got over a thousand signatures,” reckoned the head of the Marc Ingla campaign, Carme Miró.
The number of plastic surgery procedures that took place in Spain fell significantly last year and it seems that 2010 is due to follow this trend (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The number of interventions, such as breast implants or liposuction, fell by 30 percent in 2009 and there are predictions that a reduction of 40 percent could take place by the end of this year. “The economic crisis has brought in a bit of rationality in certain sectors of the population,” according to the president of the XLV Congress of the Spanish Society of Plastic, Reparative and Aesthetic Surgery, Augusto Andrés Trías, which finished in Girona yesterday. This sector refers to those between 18 and 22 years whose parents give them the plastic surgery operation as a gift to mark their becoming an adult, as well as young people who have sought bank loans to pay for a breast increase procedure. In addition, in the present climate, an increasing number of people are reluctant to take time off work for plastic surgery. The plastic surgery sector in Spain thrived during the years of economic growth, with many people deciding to have an intervention simply for aesthetic, rather than health or medical, reasons.
Also in the news: Barcelona residents increasingly concerned by insecurity and anti-social behaviour, according to new poll (read full article here in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Almost 60,000 people take part in El Corte Inglés run (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Sabadell popular vote sees 92 percent of those who took part, some 14 percent of residents, vote in favour of Catalan independence (read full article in Catalan here, Avui).