Elections this autumn for Catalonia

UPDATE: the elections will be held on November 25th.

The Catalan newspaper Ara is reporting that Artur Mas is about to call early elections, likely to occur on November 18 or 25 or December 2.

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy stated in parliament today that he doesn’t agree with the Catalan view that a new fiscal pact ought to be agreed. This was supposed to have been the subject of discussion in a meeting between Rajoy and Mas tomorrow morning in Madrid. It is believed that Mas could call the elections tomorrow, immediately after this meeting.

There is widespread expectation that these elections could take on the form of a referendum on Catalan independence from Spain. For this to happen, the governing CiU will have to form a national bloc with parties sympathetic to independence: ERC, ICV and SI. The Catalan federations of the two main Spanish parties, PP and PSOE will oppose independence, with support from Ciudadanos.

The groups in favour of independence appear to see that speed is of the essence now. They aim to benefit from the upswing in support for separatism seen at last week’s demonstration in Barcelona. They probably also fear the Spanish government invoking section 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows for central government to establish direct rule over autonomous communities seen to be in breach of the constitution.

Does this render independence any more likely? It’s hard to say. There can be no doubt that more people here are taking the question seriously. But CiU will have to negotiate a pact with leftwing ERC and ICV to have a chance of an absolute majority. But I get the feeling that there are plenty of Catalans who might balk at the last minute, either due to the uncertainty that independence might bring or because of their dislike for voting for any CiU-led coalition.

Because of the speed with which the independence movement has gathered pace and the possible sanctioning of Catalonia’s self-government by Madrid, these elections will likely prove to be the supreme test that separatism must pass if it is going to succeed.

What do you think will happen?

10 thoughts on “Elections this autumn for Catalonia

  1. Will there be early elections? Will there be a clear separatist block? Will it finally have agreed on such essentials as the borders of the state it envisages and the guarantees of minority rights it would offer? And, very importantly, will the people be duly informed about this and all other significant aspects?

    We’ll see soon. Maybe. It better and I very much doubt so are my answers.

    Nevertheless, the international factor would force this still-hypothetical Catalan state to be far different from what current local ideology demands. Within a few years, it would be a democratic state that allows for Spanish to be used also in public education, and a peaceful state, within the borders of the present-day Spanish Autonomous Community, that has no claims over any other territories.

    It would have a huge problem of corruption, because that’s already there, and it would have to deal with it.

    The real question is what happens to Spain. If Catalonia goes, so will the Basque country. That very well might throw Spain into turmoil first, and extremism thereafter. Not to speak of the poverty which usually accompanies these phenomena, in the medium run.

    So the question might have to be what would be gained from all this?

    1. I’ve heard November 25 for the elections. We’ll have to see.

      As to what happens to Spain: Spain, and Euskadi and Catalonia are going to have to learn to live happily together as trading partners on the Iberian peninsular and in the European system. I believe that this is possible. But it will be difficult to achieve with anything resembling the current national government.

    2. Candide, if you can figure out the answer by yourslef, I suggest that you ask any inhabitant of a former Spanish colony (they’re not in short supply) what they have gained with independence.

  2. There’s no need to form a coalition, as long as all parties state their position on the independence issue. As a supporter of independence not involved in politics, I think we need to do a lot planning and start seeking international support (which will be mild, at best) starting with the USA. The elections are the least of my concerns.

  3. Seems very likely that there will be early elections. I hope for transparency and realistic ideas when the various parties come to publish their platforms and debate them. More than that I wouldn’t dare to hope right now.

  4. So November 25 is the date for the elections but the real question is what happens next.

    La Vanguatdia published the results of a survey today that suggested that the pro-independence parties would win 95 out of 135 seats in the Catalan Parliament.

    However, more importantly 84% of Catalans are in favour of a referendum on the issue of independence.

    If CiU win the election, Artur Mas is duty bound to convoke the referendum but following Soraya Saez de Santamaria’s veiled threats the other night about the Madrid Government being willing to take action to protect the constitution, the road ahead is ceetainly not going to be easy.

    1. The Spanish already rejected a referendum proposal a few years ago, remember the Ibarretxe plan? But the tables have turned a little bit since then. First, Spain is a now wrecked country. They have a huge economic problem and depend on foreign aid to keep going and avoid civil unrest. This means they are under surveillance from major powers and their options are seriously limited. Second, Mr. Mas must and will seek international support. He should talk with the EU, the USA and probably the Chinese too, and explain exactly the situation to them, that he’s going to call a referendum for independence, and so on. If he’s determined, which I think he is, there is no way the Spanish can stop him. There are many ways to hold a referendum. An ordinary election can turn into a de facto referendum. They can’t make democracy illegal, can they? I agree, it’s going to be interesting. Exciting times await us.

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