The Elections in Castilla y León, which this weekend will again become a parade of national party leaders, started yesterday with controversy. But not because of the sour tone and the reproaches among the candidates -rather from ‘everyone’ against the popular Alfonso Fernández Mañueco and him against Pedro Sánchez- but because of an issue that at first might seem minor but that is becoming more and more relevant. It is the electoral debate that the PSOE, PP and Cs candidates will star in next Monday – the three that had a parliamentary group in the previous legislature – which has made the atmosphere rarefied.
And it is that the majority of the members of the Commission of Media Professionals responsible for setting the conditions for its celebration yesterday launched a forceful statement in which the most significant conclusion is that “it is not responsible” for it, considering that RTVE “does not comply with the agreements reached at its meeting on January 25.”
In said meeting, as they recall in the text sent, it was agreed “to distribute the times allocated to each thematic block and to delegate the distribution of said blocks to the president of the commission.” However, despite the fact that the public entity said to “assume” what was indicated, “It has not respected either of the two agreements and has unilaterally called and without counting on the commission, to the political parties – yesterday afternoon – to address the organization and structure of the issues».
The commission’s proposal, as you recall, was to distribute the various issues between the two debates –the second on Thursday the 9th produced by Radio Televisión Castilla y León– «in order to have time to delve into the subjects». However, according to a note sent by RTVE, this will include the seven issues in the first debate, including the pandemic, democratic regeneration and pacts.
The majority of the committee regrets that RTVE “does not respect the agreements”, so it cannot «endorse» the «developing of the debate». Likewise, he considers that he has been disrespected “by hiding fundamental information” in reference to both the name of the moderator (Xabier Fortes) and the time of the debate “thus ignoring its members and ignoring their recommendations (the majority requested that it go to the 9:00 p.m. to facilitate the work of all the media and finally it will be at 10:05 p.m.).
The statement concludes that RTVE “does not take into account what the functions of the commission are” which are, among others, the place of holding the debate, the order of participation of the candidates, the attributions of the person in charge of moderate, the time and duration of interventions and “whatever is necessary for the organization of the debate and to guarantee respect for the principles established in the electoral regulations.”
Faced with this situation, the president of the Commission of Media Professionals, Luis Miguel Torres, presented his irrevocable resignation yesterday before the advisor to the Presidency of the Board, Ángel Ibáñez, understanding that RTVE has shown that it is not willing to assume the commitments that it had accepted and has once again “emptied the already reduced playing field” of the aforementioned body. Along with Torres, several other members of the organization have also submitted their resignation or will do so in the next few hours.
In the midst of this controversy, the situation became more complicated when the Cs candidate announced last night that he had tested positive for Covid. Forced to withdraw from the campaign, his presence in the debate could be telematic, as the Autonomous Electoral Board foresees for a case like this.