As had been predicted, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) didn't break ranks with the Spanish Socialists yesterday and voted against the motion brought by Convergència i Unió in the Spanish Congress to oblige the Spanish government to pay Catalunya money it's owed from a competitiveness fund (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The votes of the PSC members against the motion meant that it failed to pass, with a total of 168 voting against, 10 abstentions and 161 in favour, the latter group including all the other Catalan parties with representation in the Congress, Esquerra Republicana Catalunya and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, as well as the right-wing Partido Popular (PP). Following the vote, the PSC congressman Daniel Fernández criticised CiU for bringing the motion in the first place, and said it was a strategy for the Catalan and Spanish right-wing parties to prepare a new pact [making reference to previous agreements between CiU and the PP]. Fernández said that CiU had preferred to lose a vote by siding with the PP than winning by voting with the PSC. CiU wants the Spanish government to pay €1.4 billion that it says was agreed to be paid this year to the Generalitat of Catalunya, but the administration has repeatedly refused to do so.
The trainer of FC Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, is taking with him the entire first team and training staff to the match this evening against Levante in Valencia, so that, if the team wins the league as a result of the game, everyone will be there to celebrate together (read article in Catalan here, Avui). If Barcelona do become champions tonight, for which a draw is sufficient, it is possible that there will be a city celebration on Friday. The Guardia Urbana is already making preparations for such an eventuality, which will see the traditional parade in an open-top bus through Barcelona's streets. The police are also preparing for celebrations that are likely to take place tonight at the Font de Canaletes in La Rambla. Plans are underway to set up police barriers in the area to stop fans bringing certain items such as flares and glass bottles that could put the merry-making at risk.
In the first televised debate between the five candidates standing for mayor of Barcelona, the incumbent Jordi Hereu and his coalition partner Ricard Gomà clashed with two of the other candidates on the topic of security (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Hereu, from the PSC, and Gomà of ICV sought to stress the work done in the past four years to improve social relations throughout the city's neighbourhoods. In addition, and with the candidate from ERC, Jordi Portabella, the two men said that security on Barcelona's streets wasn't simply a question of increasing the number of police officers patrolling them, but to have in place a good network for dealing with issues raised by residents. However, the other candidates, Xavier Trias of CiU, and Hereu's main rival, and Alberto Fernández Diaz of the PP, took issue with such claims. Trias said that it was "unacceptable" that one of every four people had suffered some kind of crime in the past year, and said that more Guardia Urbana and Mossos d'Esquadra officers were needed, and that the two police forces be better coordinated. Fernández Diaz agreed that there was a lack of police in Barcelona and also criticised ICV for its "fundamentalism" in being more concerned about the rights of criminals than matters of security.