The Universidad Europea hosted a debate on Tuesday, May 31 for representatives of the four major political parties who, with less than a month till the next elections, spoke about key issues relating to the economy, education, employment and democratic regeneration. The participants included: Juan Soler from the Partido Popular; Iban García from the Partido Socialista; Chema Guijarro representing Unidos Podemos; and Ignacio Aguado from Ciudadanos.
There were very few topics on which the participants of the debate agreed, although they did all recognize the need to achieve a pact on education. On this topic, Soler stated that his party believes that “investment in education and stability in educational laws is something absolutely necessary”. The representative of the PSOE also stressed the importance of developing a law that brings stability although he criticized the PP, alleging that “if they want a pact, they hide it very well”. Meanwhile, Guijarro took advantage of the occasion to reinforce that PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos “have already managed to block the Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE)” and claimed that “now we have to take the next step”; while Aguado urged the need to “sit the two traditional parties down to stop them having a shouting match so that we can reach a pact that lasts more than one term”.
The four politicians also agreed on pointing out the importance of promoting reconciliation measures, in response to a question posed by a Universidad Europea student. In this sense, all the participants explained the measures proposed by their parties that deal with topics ranging from changing timetables in workplaces, so that they working day can finish at six in the evening (PP), to promoting working from home (Ciudadanos) and aligning paternity and maternity rights (PSOE and Unidos Podemos).
Also in response to a question from the public, the four politician showed the position of their teams with regards private education. On his part, the PP representative ensured that his party “defends the private initiative and concerted education because they believe in educational variety”, a position shared by Ciudadanos, who insisted on the “parents' freedom to choose”. The socialist politician, on his part, noted that “there is a shortfall of investment in public education and the agreements need to be controlled so that a public network can be developed, which does not mean that the number of private or concerted schools would need to be reduced”. Lastly, the representative of Unidos Podemos ensured that his party “respects private education, but that what it intends to do is to reinforce public education” and recognized the work carried out in concerted education in the eighties.
In relation with the possible results of the elections on 26 June and the pacts that could be reached at later dates, Juan Soler predicted a scene “very similar to that which has occurred before, but in a different order”, while Iban García insisted that PSOE “is in the center of politics, aspires to be another alternative to PP and is able to reach pacts”. José María Guijarro, however, emphasized that “when talking about pacts, the reason why needs to be defined” because the important thing is to “put an end to the austerity and democratic regeneration that require greater participation from citizens”. Ignacio Aguado, on his part, declared that “Ciudadanos is open to pacts”.
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