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Ignacio Urquizu

(1978, Alcañiz) Mayor of

Alcañiz

and regional deputy, before he was a national deputy and senator for the PSOE, and before he still had an outstanding academic career.

He believes that another policy is possible, as the essay he has published in Debate is titled.

Is another policy really possible?

If possible. It is already taking place in other places: in an autonomous government or in a city council, politics is very different from what we see at the national level. And it is not only possible but desirable, it is what people are asking for. And if it is another possible policy, why do we live in this permanent climate of tension and polarization? Well, because I believe that for some time it was decided that Spanish politics, instead of being played by the center, was going to be played by the extremes, that is, the Socialist Party was going to make its government options with all those who are closer to 1 on the ideological scale and the Popular Party, with those who are closer to 10. The polarization is the result of the decision that Spanish politics is played in extremes. Citizens, are we also responsible?

Yes, of course. Politicians ultimately want to win elections. And when they perceive that society likes to have a debate with very high decibels, they follow that trend. You just have to look at social networks, to which I am quite regular. When you put some kind of reflection, the most normal thing is that there are many people who end up disqualifying, insulting or taking your arguments to the extreme. The parties are the reflection of society. And Spanish society is highly ideological. In Spain the left represents around 45% of society, the right 30% and 25% are those without ideology. If Spanish society were more moderate or temperate, we would have other parties. What is your recipe for ending permanent polarization and tension? I believe that the best option is for politics to practice empathy.That is to say, that politicians are capable of putting themselves in the place of others, not only in the place of those who are going to govern but even in that of those who do not think like them and see things differently. The best way to end polarization is for those who have to make decisions to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the other and understand their reasons. Surely, from there they would begin to modulate their arguments a bit. Polarization in Spain has so far made a great transversal national coalition impossible. You defend such a coalition, right?The best way to end polarization is for those who have to make decisions to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the other and understand their reasons. Surely, from there they would begin to modulate their arguments a bit. Polarization in Spain has so far made a great transversal national coalition impossible. You defend such a coalition, right?The best way to end polarization is for those who have to make decisions to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the other and understand their reasons. Surely, from there they would begin to modulate their arguments a bit. Polarization in Spain has so far made a great transversal national coalition impossible. You defend such a coalition, right?

Yes. I believe that in the end the policies that are longer term, that manage to reach more people and last over time, are those that are agreed by large majorities. And that implies that those who have some option to govern, either because they are an alternative or because they are in the Government but as a minority party, can agree on State policies with those who are different. Democracy is the scene of disagreement, and of course that disagreement has to exist and there will be many things that we do not agree on. But when it comes to governing, the larger the majority, also from an ideological point of view, the better the policies. So Pedro Sánchez should have ally himself with the PP instead of with Podemos and seek the support of Bildu and Esquerra Republicana? No.I believe that there is no option to govern with the Popular Party, not even in the medium term. In Spain I do not believe that what has happened in Germany with the great coalition that was launched in 2017 can happen. But I believe that right now the Government of Pedro Sánchez has taken a much more correct path, which is to seek an agreement , as we have just seen in a group of institutions such as the Constitutional Court. And surely, by unblocking the political situation little by little and making the institutions work in a normal way, I believe that the political tension will diminish. You are a sociologist. In this country is it governed by the coup of a poll, by "demonstration ambush" as you say in your book? Yes. One of the problems with politics today is that it has become doing what people say: taking a poll,see what people think and reproduce that in political action. I think that it would have to be the opposite, that the policy would have to consist of having a country project, of the majority, defending it and convincing people of that project, seducing them. Quite the opposite of what we see today. Has populism infected all parties? Yes, of course. All the parties have been dragged by that way of understanding politics as that you have to do what the people want, which is a form of populism. They have been dragged here and also outside of Spain. Great politics implies thinking in the long term, while in Spain what dominates is short-termism, don't you think? Yes. What I like the most about politics is the ability to transform society, and that is achieved with medium and long-term policies,with policies that will be reflected even when there is no longer the government that may have made that decision but a different one. I am thinking, for example, of educational or research policies ... Studies say that when investing in R&D, the effect on economic growth is noticeable from the fifth year, that is, all the policies that are made in that sense is seen on a very distant horizon. But they are policies that must be done, sometimes by agreeing or agreeing, knowing that from a political point of view others will benefit but they are good for the whole of society. Voting discipline in Spain is deeply rooted. Isn't that something a bit perverse for a democracy? No, I believe that voting discipline gives people certainty. When a person votes for a party,you have to clearly know what that party is going to do while it is in government, in Congress ... Let's imagine that a party X did not have an internal consensus on a moral position, such as abortion, and that half of its deputies vote one thing and the other half, another. How safe is voting for that party if you don't know what it is going to do when certain votes arrive? What allows voting discipline is that people know for sure what the party's position is, what it is going to do and how it is going to position itself. If you start to see a lot of internal divisions, people penalize you because they don't really know what they're voting for. Furthermore, nobody represents himself, he represents a political project, a set of ideals.What would have to change within the internal functioning of the parties for another policy to be possible? Basically, I think they would have to increase consensus, with the checks and balances that the leaders have. What has been seen in all the parties, including the PP, is that with the primaries the leaderships have been greatly strengthened and the structures have weakened. And I think that the decisions would have to be more consensual. The problem with Spanish politics is that there is a lack of consensus, there is a lack of positions of agreement. And to achieve this, you start with internal organizations in which you have to be negotiating all day with the territories and with other actors ... That way of doing politics is more expensive, it forces you to go to many meetings, it forces you to have a lot of dialogue. But there was a time, in the 80's and 90's,in which internally the parties functioned in a much more consensual way. There were debates, and they were very deep, because there were different positions in the internal representation bodies. Is internal dissent now punished? I do not know if it was ever awarded, I think it has always been punished in one way or another not to think like the majority. But in the end you have to stand up for what you believe in and not be thinking about the reward you might get for thinking otherwise. Do you feel that you have been retaliated against for supporting Susana Díaz's candidacy in the PSOE primaries in which Pedro Sánchez was elected? After that, the PSOE took his name off the electoral lists in Congress ...I don't feel that way because in my political model I understand that in the end the parties have to choose those they consider appropriate. At the time, I defended positions that were seen to be not in the majority, and the party decided to have other people to represent it in the Congress of Deputies. It is true that at that time I had the support of 90% of the party's membership in the Teruel constituency. The grassroots wanted me to continue, but the management, what they call the 'apparatus' considered that I was not the right person. I always abide by the decisions, because I understand that in the end the games work like this. And in fact, now I see it as a huge political opportunity, because as mayor of Alcañiz I am having a great time,I am learning many things about municipal and regional politics and I have found a space to do politics that I really like. If you had to give a single ingredient to start making another policy, what would it be? In negotiation processes, many times what leaders do is go to a quiet place for a weekend, to talk about anything less than politics: football, sports, their families, their children ... So maybe the formula would be for the country's main leaders to go away for a weekend and talk about everything except politics, and recognize in the other people who, despite their ideological differences, also have many similarities, because deep down almost all of us seek the same thing, the best for the country.What would it be? In negotiation processes, many times what leaders do is go to a quiet place for a weekend, to talk about anything but politics: football, sports, their families, their children ... So maybe the formula would be for the main leaders of the country to go away for a weekend and talk about everything except politics, and begin to recognize in other people that, despite their ideological differences, they also have many their similarities, because deep down almost all of us seek the same thing, the best for the country.What would it be? In negotiation processes, many times what leaders do is go to a quiet place for a weekend, to talk about anything but politics: football, sports, their families, their children ... So maybe the formula would be for the main leaders of the country to go away for a weekend and talk about everything except politics, and begin to recognize in other people that, despite their ideological differences, they also have many their similarities, because deep down almost all of us seek the same thing, the best for the country.So maybe the formula would be for the main leaders of the country to go away for a weekend and talk about everything except politics, and recognize in other people that, despite their ideological differences, they also have many similarities, because deep down almost all of us are looking for the same thing, the best for the country.So maybe the formula would be for the main leaders of the country to go away for a weekend and talk about everything except politics, and recognize in other people that, despite their ideological differences, they also have many similarities, because deep down almost all of us are looking for the same thing, the best for the country.

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