The Aran Valley and its electoral system

Valley until Unha et Salardú

I often travel to the Aran Valley. It’s situated in the Pyrenees; I have approximately 3 hours and a half by car. I went there the past week with two classmates and also very closely friends, in order to draw some churches there. I have no words to describe how lovely it is! The Aran Valley is a really nice place, with affectionate people, its own language, its own culture and also its own way to live life. When you get there…all is quiet, all is in peace. You can have the extraordinary experience to be in contact with nature, it’s great!

Vielha is the biggest village. There, you can visit the Aran museum.  I will explain you their own electoral system. In the medieval age, in a lot of places the feudal system was the dominating culture. It was different in the Aran Valley. The Valley was divided into six parts; each in three terçons that are divided into two. These terçons arise different members that make up the Aran General Council, own government on the Aran Valley.

Until voting made the seventeenth century the electoral system, there were always the same families in authority. From the seventeenth century, Juan Francisco de Gracia, published a book called “Royal edicts and pragmatic arrangements.” It sets a new electoral system. It consists on balloting. It works with little wood balls, which are called redolins (small wood rolls). Within each placed the name of the candidate for director, or was to be a prominent trustee. To be a candidate must meet certain requirements, not everyone could be it. To be minister and receiver you had to be over 30 years. There were some jobs that could not be related to, as the jobs related to the blood. Especially participated families that were been living there for a lot of years. Every candidate got his own name in the Redolin and according to the population and the position they play are placed in the bags, which were placed in a box. There is the case of directors, the box of account auditors and trustees box. Then we have the leaders, who were elected by council’s villa, not by balloting. Listeners take three keys, one for each third of the valley, and then a director of each of the parts. Then an innocent hand, usually a child under 7 years, the first weekend of September, got his hand in the bag and the name chosen was selected for a year. Then all that was kept in the ark with three keys, one for the Governor General Valley andthe other two went to two different terçons. The ark could be opened when the three joined.

What a pretty history! I think that it’s really interesting how in medieval age could have this modern electoral system. Thinking on a child to do the election is also an astounding option!

This is the site of the museum! It’s written in Aran language, a ‘mixture’ between French and Catalan, in my point of view a nice-sound language!

http://www.cultura.conselharan.org/content/category/15/52/158/lang,aranes/

Redolins and bags

Cristina.