This weekend's election in Catalunya

On Sunday, Catalans will go to the polls in what promises to be the most significant election in their history. The president of the Catalan parliament, Artur Mas, called the election two years earlier than needed in response to the Spanish Prime Minister's point-blank refusal to countenance any change in the fiscal relationship between Catalunya and Spain. However immediately before the parliament was dissolved it passed a resolution calling for the right of Catalans to determine their own constitutional future, meaning that this election will be primarily about whether the new parliament has a mandate to take Catalunya to independence from Spain.

There are six major party groups contesting the election. Ranked in terms of their share of the vote in the 2010 election to the Catalan Parliament they are:

•  CiU - Convergència i Unió ... centre-right, Catalan (38.5%)
•  PSC - Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya ... centre-left, Spanish (18.3%)
•  PP - Partido Popular ... right, Spanish (12.3%)
•  ICV - Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds ... eco-socialist, Catalan (7.4%)
•  ERC - Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya ... left, Catalan (7.0%)
•  Cs - Ciutadans ... left, Spanish (3.4%)

There's a list of the latest opinion poll figures on this page. In general terms, they show CiU way out in front with around 37% of the vote; the PSC, PP, ICV and ERC quite close together with between 10% and 15% of the vote each; and the Cs trailing with around 5%. The voting system is proportional, but there is a 3% threshold, so smaller parties like the pro-independence SI and CUP will be lucky to get a seat.

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The PP (who have a majority in the Spanish parliament) and Cs are both Spanish nationalist parties, vehemently opposed to Catalunya being able to decide its own future.

The PSC say they are in favour of Catalans having the right to decide their constitutional future, but only if done within the Spanish Constitution. However there is no way that the Spanish are likely to allow this, so it's little more than an exercise in either gesture politics or wishful thinking. A month or so ago, at the start of the campaign, there might have been a sliver of hope that Catalunya could gain more autonomy within a federal Spain; but the acrimonious—not to say vicious—tone of the campaign waged by the Spanish parties will surely have persuaded most people that it's too late for that to happen. As a result, support for the PSC is falling fast. They are now only a pale shadow of the party that won 31.2% of the vote in 2003 and 26.8% of the vote in 2006.

CiU, the ERC and ICV support the right of Catalans to decide their own future. Between them they will get at least 60% of the vote and maybe two-thirds of the seats. This means that the next Catalan parliament will vote to hold a referendum on independence. Of that, there is no doubt whatsoever.

Whether Spain will allow that referendum to happen is another question. Although talked about by a few hotheads, I don't think there is any chance of the Spanish using military force to stop it. However they will certainly use economic force, starving the Catalan government of the cash flow necessary to pay public sector workers. That means one of the first priorities for the new government will be to set up a Catalan tax agency so that taxes are collected in Catalunya rather than being sent to directly to Madrid. The referendum will not be held until this system is up and running. 2014 is the most likely date.

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The only real question is whether CiU will get an absolute majority of seats. All the signs are that they won't, but from my point of view that will be a good thing. It means that CiU will have to work with ERC and ICV to achieve a broad consensus.

I have to say that I am disappointed that the ERC are not doing better in the polls. What I had wanted to see was a wholesale shift on the left of the political spectrum away from the PSC and towards the ERC, mirroring the shift away from the PSOE in Euskadi towards EH Bildu. The ERC are Plaid Cymru's sister party in the EFA in the European Parliament, and have consistently supported independence for Catalunya for decades, so I can't help but feel that they deserve to do better in the polls. The Johnny-Come-Lately CiU have only come out in favour of independence in the last few months.

But maybe that's not the best way of looking at it. Personally I am as much a Green as I am a Nationalist, and would find it very much harder to support Plaid Cymru if it had a different stance on Green issues. There is no doubt whatsoever that Catalunya will become independent within the next few years, and when the fight for independence has been won there will be a general re-alignment of political affiliations ... as indeed there will be when Wales becomes independent. So perhaps it's better to look at support for the ERC and ICV together.

I was chatting to someone from the ERC only a couple of weeks ago and he thought it likely that the ERC and ICV would form an alliance. This is not unusual in Catalan politics; after all, the CiU is itself an alliance of two parties. Between them they should get at least 20% and maybe 25% of the vote, so that if they did work together they would easily be the second largest group in the parliament. Obviously they would support CiU on the constitutional agenda, but could form a constructive and much needed centre-left opposition to ameliorate the CiU's savage programme of austerity cuts and instead promote sustainable growth ... which is the only real way out of recession.

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So what will the result be? Cherry-picking from the plethora of opinion polls, I think this GESOP poll for El Periódico is most likely to be right:

     

Perhaps that's wishful thinking on my part because it puts the ERC in second place. But I'm not alone in that optimism, as this article by the Catalan News Agency predicts the same thing, giving a glowing account of the ERC's agenda and of its leader, Oriol Junqueras.

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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the preview. It should be an exciting day. I would, however, like to say a word in favour of CiU. I think it is true to say that they have been in power in Catalunya for about 25 of the last 32 years and in that time Barcelona has been, in the words of the OECD, 'transformed from a declining industrial city into a global gateway and one of Europe's centres for design and biotechnology'.

Anonymous said...

.. the CiU have also been consistent in develop linguistic policies which have revived Catalan and by doing to confirmed it as a multi-ethnic language.

They've tried to get the best deal for Catalonia even if it meant dealing with the PP. They're not 'pure but they got things done.

There may be a lesson for Plaid here. There's room for a party which is seen to stand up for Wales and to hell with worrying what other parties (Labour) think of them. It's no coincidence that both the Euskadi, Flanders and Catalonia are led and have been lead by right of centre 'Christian Democrat' nationalist parties.

The Labour party in Wales for all it's rhetoric, is in many ways a more 'Christian Democrat' regionalist party. That's one reason they're in power. They're not in power because they are 'radical', socialist or quote Raymond Williams. They're in power precisely because conservative.




Anonymous said...

Good post and interesting comments. The character of various nationalisms depends on the characteristics and circumstances of each nation. CiU in particular has governed a bit like the Basque PNV. They are Christian Democratic parties but in a British context their policies, particularly in terms of social welfare and state spending, wouldn't be considered "centre-right". The PNV in particular isn't dissimilar to how the UK's SDP portrayed itself, but with an obvious Catholic element. I don't know if its the same in Flanders or not.

Catalonia has actually enjoyed a pretty good autonomy settlement since Franco. Their economy is in a relatively good position compared to Spain because they have heavy industry, they have financial services, and they have tourism. CiU has only just become interested in independence because of the problems in the Spanish state. From an economic perspective Catalonia has never 'needed' independence until now. The opposite to the situation in Wales.

The political culture in Wales is alot different to Catalonia. If Wales had the same statute of autonomy as Catalonia (or as Flanders or Euskadi for that matter), we would already be seeing ourselves as de facto independent. We are literally nowhere near those countries, in terms of constitutional development. But there is every reason to believe we can drive Wales forward.

Anonymous said...

"The Labour party in Wales for all it's rhetoric, is in many ways a more 'Christian Democrat' regionalist party. That's one reason they're in power. They're not in power because they are 'radical', socialist or quote Raymond Williams. They're in power precisely because conservative."

I also agree with this. It is completely true, and partly the reason why Labour is now actually moving towards the appearance of soft Welsh nationalism, instead of explicitly class-based politics. They know that to see off Plaid Cymru (or at least, prevent Plaid's growth) they don't have to be the opposite of Plaid, they have to be Plaid-lite.

We have to deal with this, rather than with the situation in Catalonia or Flanders where nationalism has been shaped completely differently. But I think it is extremely useful to track their elections and to show solidarity with them, and of course it also affects things like the EU.

Anonymous said...

MH, don't be too pessimistic about ERC. It has to be remembered that it is ERC, not CiU, that has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for independence at the grassroots level, including when independence was unfashionable. This can especially be seen in the Barcelona FC fanbase. Without that work, the CiU would not be able to promote independence today. ERC has been hugely influential in developing left-wing Catalanism, and if you took that away, CiU would probably not be able to deliver a referendum, let alone win one.

ERC has always been completely realistic that they won't be able to lead Catalonia. Their aim is to push other parties towards independence and also to argue for democratic socialism. They are having reasonable success compared to their numbers. Catalonia is such a multi-party system that smaller parties have to use their influence where and when they can.

ERC will be pretty pleased to see their numbers increase and if they can take second place, it would be an incredible turnaround from their near wipe-out after being in coalition with PSC.

MH said...

Perceptions about what constitutes left and right are interesting. One of the features of the quarterly Baròmetre d’Opinió Política that has always fascinated me is the question about where people place themselves on the political spectrum (Question 23a on p26).

Extreme left ... 2.1%
Left ... 35.9%
Centre-left ... 18.6%
Centre ... 17.5%
Centre-right ... 7.1%
Right ... 4.3%
Extreme right ... 0.1%

In total 56.6% think of themselves as left of centre, and only 11.5% think of themselves as right of centre. Yet, when it comes to voting, most of them vote for parties that are usually described being to the right of centre.

So yes, I would agree that calling CiU (and the EAJ-PNV in Euskadi) a "centre-right" party does not mean the same thing as it might mean in a UK context. It is a centre-right party that gets support from people who think of themselves as centre-left. And as for the cuts that they are currently implementing, CiU really don't have a lot of choice about it. The economic situation across the whole of Iberia is dire.

So I don't want to downplay the achievements of CiU, especially what they have done for Catalan nation-building in the post-Franco era. And I must equally say that some of the ERC policy positions are too extreme for me, for example (as mentioned in the CNA link above) that an independent Catalunya would not have an army.

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Turning to Wales, I think some aspects of that pattern are transferable. Labour in Wales are a conservative party, and it would be equally true to think of Labour in the same way as I characterized CiU and the EAJ-PNV above, namely as "a centre-right party that gets support from people who think of themselves as centre-left" ... the only difference is that Labour persist in thinking of themselves (or at least presenting themselves) as a centre-left party even though they actually do centre-right things when they are in power.

Welsh not British said...

^ I'd expect a similar pattern in Wales. People still think Labour are a party of lefties and find it hard to believe they are actually more right wing than the BNP.

A nation of sheep and all that. Anyway, good luck to the Catalans, let's hope this is the first in a long line of dominoes across Europe.

Anonymous said...

People don't think Labour are "lefties". About 70% of the electorate dislikes the Tories and votes Labour to keep them out. That's why Labour does well in Wales no matter what their record is.

I have to admit I don't see the bit where Labour are worse than the BNP, sorry. There is a problem in Wales where so much anti-Labour rhetoric becomes absurd. That doesn't harm Labour one iota.

Anonymous said...

I agree with comments on CiU's social platforms over the past 30 years: it is a catch-all party, CDC representing the social democrat element and Unio the Christian-democrat. This, though, didn't just happen out of the blue. Catalonia industrialised much earlier than Castile and therefore the society in which CiU swims, as MH notes, is relatively left-friendly and progressive.

MH, however, is somewhat curmudgeonly in depicting CiU as Johnny-Come-Latelies to independence since this was way way off *every* Catalan party's radar until 2010 when the Constitutional Court in Madrid eviscerated the new Catalan Statute: ERC had happily lived in coalition with the PSC and IC-V for 7 years until 2010 and not a sw, bw or mw passed from the lips of ERC's leaders during those years on the topic of independence. Years of bounty them for all. Doing business with Madrid was very much 'in'. The leitmotiv for nationalist parties up to that time had been the ubiquitous 'autodetermination' aka having independence as a policy plank for sometime in the distant future. That all changed with the TC's statute decision and the dawning realisation that a Basque-like 'concert economic' wasn't going to be given, even if Spain could afford it, which it can't. Jordi Pujol's son, Oriol, has got a grip of the CDC element of CiU, is openly independentist, uses this word (Mas doesn't, but rather 'our own state') and is taking on where Pujol Pater left off. However, this has happened in parallel to ERC's statements since 2010 rather than being driven by the latter. So there's shifting complexity in CiU. I'd say that is also true for ERC over the past 10 years. All very natural.

I'd love to know the political affiliations of the organisers of the 11 Sept march this year. I'd say CiU figures very heavily among them.

MH said...

While I can accept that there are different ways of reading events, I think your version is quite wide of the mark when it comes to the ERC, 01:18. I'd agree that there has been a "shifting complexity", but it's rubbish to say that ERC hasn't mentioned independence or that it hasn't been at the very forefront of that complexity. This is how I read what's happened over the past decade:

In 2003 ERC got 23 seats in the Catalan parliament, a massive improvement on the 12 they had before. They went into a tripartite left government with the PSC and ICV-EUiA, but the price of their support (the "red line" issue) was a new Statute of Autonomy (SoA) ... something that the PSC could deliver because the PSOE was in power in Madrid.

ERC wanted it to be a stepping stone towards independence. But what was eventually delivered fell short of their expectations, and the final wording was actually a compromise hammered out between the PSOE in Madrid (as opposed to the PSC in Catalunya) and CiU, who were in opposition in the Catalan parliament. Now perhaps it was unrealistic to expect the new SoA to go as far as ERC wanted, but they needed to decide how best to play the situation. Instead of a co-ordinated response they actually manged to contradict themselves at every turn. In the Catalan parliament, they voted for the new SoA. In Madrid they voted against it in one house and abstained in the other. Then, when it was presented to the people of Catalunya in a referendum in 2006, they finally got their act together and campaigned against it on the grounds that it would lock Catalunya into Spain permanently rather than be a stepping stone towards the independence they wanted.

The referendum was won and the ERC then withdrew from government, forcing an early election. They fought it on the grounds that the new SoA wasn't anywhere near good enough and sought a mandate for more. They didn't do badly in the elections (losing just two seats) but it certainly wasn't a mandate to go further. If I were to characterize things, it was as if Catalans had said to ERC, "Thanks for all your hard work (for if it wasn't for you, a new SoA wouldn't have happened at all) but we're happy with it and don't want to go any further just yet."

It was then that the ERC made what I consider to be their big mistake. They went back, tail between their legs, into the same tripartite left government they had pulled out of ... essentially putting constitutional advancement onto the back burner. It's a similar dilemma to that faced by Plaid Cymru: is our prime purpose to keep pressing for more autonomy and eventual independence, or do we satisfy ourselves with trying to govern Wales within the current constitutional settlement? A lot of people gave up on ERC because of that decision, and they paid a heavy price in the 2010 election, losing more than half their seats. As I read it, the section of Catalan society that wanted independence decided that the political parties they had weren't capable of delivering it.

To be continued ...

MH said...

Continued

So, from 2007, the focus shifted from the party political sphere to the sphere of civic society. It has been the medium through which the desire for independence has slowly but inexorably been building up. And when, in 2010, the TC (Constitutional Tribunal) finally made its decision to cut back the new SoA, the effect was like a dam bursting. All political parties have been carried along in the flood. It is impossible (in any democracy) to allow people to vote for something but then deny them what they voted for.

I'd agree that ERC have not been "driving" events since 2006; at least not in the sense of being in the front seat with everyone else behind them, as has been the case with the SNP in Scotland. There, they want independence; and the difficulty is to get a majority of people in Scotland to agree.

Things have been different in Catalunya. No matter how much smaller in scope the 2006 SoA was from what ERC would have liked, it would not have come into being if it wasn't for ERC. That has been the dam behind which public opinion in favour of independence was harnessed; the difficulty was to get a majority of politicians in Catalunya to agree. The 11 September demonstration was like an unleashed wall of water which gave undecided politicians no choice but to either swim with the flow or take a futile stand and be crushed against the rocks.

Dewi Harries said...

The organisation of the march was done by the Catalan National Assembly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_National_Assembly

Wiki lists the committee members

Anonymous said...

The secretariat of the ANC looks broad ... and includes Miquel Sellarès, one of the founders of CDC. It also includes ERC and SI.

I don't believe, like you do MH, that ERC in 2006 really had the heart to believe that independence could be a viable option in the short term, hence the falling back on the 'autodeterminacio' positioning.

But of what matter now? New ball game. The political centre of the Spanish state has been debilitated due to the economic crisis whilst continuing its 20 year-long unionist clawback of powers. Catalans may vote for a referendum vote tonight as much for economic reasons as for identitarian ones. Both for many. Fair enough. CDC, ERC, SI see their chance. ICV play along. PSC the rabbit in the headlights. Unio would sell their granny if it were beneficial to them.

However, independence as a political option has been legitimated, has become a significant cleavage within society and is no longer a minority sport. Parties shift tack accordingly. Have Catalans tonight lost their fear of political, if not economic, freedom?

MH said...

I'm not saying that ERC thought that independence was a viable option in the short term, just that independence was what they wanted, and that they thought the 2006 SoA as passed would have made that goal harder rather than easier to achieve.

Who can say for sure what would have happened? ... but I think that if the TC had not struck down parts of it, Catalans would probably have had no reason to get so angry. They'd have thought that Spain was benign and that they would eventually get more autonomy, not realizing that it might have been twenty years before the chance came to take another step. A state so defined by its constitution can't take a series of little steps in the way that the UK can.

Although they won't like it, the PP have to take a good deal of the credit for the sea change in favour of independence, just as the Tories under Thatcher have to take the credit for the huge sea change that allowed devolution to become a reality in 1997 after all seemed lost in 1979. The PSOE also need to be thanked, because they could have stood up for the SoA. Their failure showed that neither of the main Spanish parties wanted Spain to move to a more federal system. The PSC may say they want it now, but it's all to late.

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But, as you say, that's history now. Oddly, what has happened today is exactly what Reagrupament wanted to happen in 2010. Namely an election that was all about independence. CiU weren't interested in that then, they were only interested in getting back into power. That's when they sold their granny. They just ran out of grannies to sell.

I think Catalans lost their fear (and I think their only real fear was that the Spanish would use military force, not fear of their ability to run their own country) some time ago as a result of things like the unofficial independence referendums. The extent to which it has fallen away has been reflected in the ever-growing margin in favour of independence in opinion polls. I think it will continue so that if a referendum is held, the Yes votes will be weighed, not counted. If Spain manages to block it (which I don't think they can) then the parliament will declare independence instead. There are different ways in which things can play, out but the end result is not in any doubt.

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Finally, this post by Frankly has links for anyone who wants to watch the results unfold.

The TV3 exit poll has been released:

CiU ... 54-57 ... disappointing but OK
ERC ... 20-23 ... absolutely brilliant!
PSC ... 16-18 ... oblivion in 3rd, maybe even 4th place
PP ... 16-18 ... quite good, for them
ICV ... 10-12 ... not too shabby

MH said...

Cs ... 6-7 ... as expected
CUP ... 5-6 ... a big surprise. They are another pro-independence group, but I thought would be lucky to get a set.

Owen said...

Those exit polls look interesting, heading for an historic night by the looks of things - real results permitting. Could Catalonia beat Scotland to the "exit"?

The EU might not have any formal stance or policies on "internal enlargement" - amongst all its other problems at the moment - but I think the time's coming where they'll need to draft some.

MH said...

What seems to have happened (if the exit polls are right) is that the left hand side of the political spectrum has shifted from being primarily Spanish (the PSC) to being primarily Catalan. It's a great result for ERC (if they get more than 23 it will be their best ever performance) and the CUP are another unashamedly pro-independence group. Together they have 25-29 seats. The ICV are pro-referendum, though maybe a little less hot on independence. But they will go with the flow. Now it has become clear that a majority want independence, they will want it too. That puts the broad left independence vote at 35-41 seats.

Artur Mas will be disappointed to have lost so many seats. He would have hoped for the magic 60. But CiU are still the largest party by a long way. Mas will still lead the Generalitat.

Its likely that the media here and CiU's opponents will present it as a blow to independence aspirations. But that's only because they made the mistake of thinking that Mas was the one leading the independence movement. Tonight's message is that independence is not only about Mas and the CiU, and that it's not a right or centre-right thing. It's something that has caught hold across the whole left-right spectrum.

It's good. It means that CiU can't shape a newly independent Catalunya into one particular mold. CiU will have to reach out to be wider and more inclusive.

I'm sure that Mas was relying on the ERC to make up the handful of seats he needed for a majority. But with ERC a very solid second, they have the right to be the opposition that the PSC would have hoped to be. If they work with CUP and/or ICV Catalunya will be in the position of having a pro-independence government and opposition. The Spanish parties will be reduced to also-rans.

Anonymous said...

Could be turning into an unbelievable night for ERC. A great time to be in the national left!

ERC will push Mas and CiU all the way to independence.

Anonymous said...

CiU. 54-57
ERC 20-23
ICV 10-12
CUP. 6

In total. 90-98 seats for pro-independence/referendum parties.
Ie 67-73 per cent of all seats.
Is this a fair summary of the exit polls?

MH said...

Agreed. A big majority in favour.

But bear in mind that the figures are an exit poll. The real results are coming in now. They show the PSC doing better, but I think that's only because the PSC are strongest in Barcelona, and that those constituencies come in before the more remote areas.

MH said...

The final figures (well 99.89%) are in:

CiU ... 50 (-12)
ERC ... 21 (+11)
PSC ... 20 (-8)
PP ... 19 (+1)
ICV ... 13 (+3)
Cs ... 9 (+6)
CUP ... 3 (+3)
SI ... 0 (-4)

In terms of the parties in favour of a referendum and independence immediately before the election there has been a marginal swing in favour of independence:

Total for 87 (was 86)
Total against 48 (was 49)

But you can bet that most of the media will not pick up on this and will portray the result as a setback for independence because of CiU's poor showing.

However in terms of left and right there has been a very significant swing to the left, and the balance is now almost exactly equal:

Total left 66 (was 51)
Total right 69 (was 80)

SI did have 4 seats in the last parliament, but they only wanted independence and were neutral on everything else, so I've not put them on either side.

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First reactions are that Artur Mas was probably relying on getting 60 seats and planning on getting a working majority with support from a dozen or so ERC seats. The figures might be different, but they still add up to the same thing. So that option is every bit as workable as before for CiU. That will be CiU's favoured option.

However ERC might now have reason to think twice. As well as the option of working with CiU, ERC can probably work with CUP and ICV, but they definitely won't work with the PSC. They will want to consolidate their new (and probably unexpected) mantle as the main party of the left, so they won't offer the PSC the lifeline of being in government. But that means the left cannot form a government. Nor could anyone in ERC, CUP or ICV work with the Cs, anyway.

So ERC have the option of either forming a coalition with CiU to influence all policy areas (both constitutional and day-to-day) from within, or act as a constructive opposition on day-to-day economic matters, but support CiU on the route to independence. I think the second is the better option, for if they choose to work with CiU, then the PSC becomes the official opposition. It would mean the PSC get another lifeline.

So I think CiU will remain in power with Mas as president of the Generalitat, but that CiU will now have to ameliorate the cuts programme. In normal circumstances CiU could have relied on support from the PP on cuts, but they certainly can't work with them now. If we bear in mind that ERC and CUP will invariably be opposed to the PP on every conceivable subject, a CiU minority government is a workable, even though uncomfortable, option.

I don't subscribe to the view that Oriel Pujol will knife Mas. At least not yet. He seems to be winning friends in Brussels, so let him continue to do that. Working things out with the EU is the one critical thing that needs to be negotiated. But if Mas fails or gets bogged down and a different face is needed, Oriel Pujol is waiting in the wings and can come on as a super-sub.

Anonymous said...

Spot on, MH.

A new political cycle begins. ERC as you say may find it easier to give point-by-point support, helping them to avoid some, but not all, of the toxicity which CiU will continue to receive due to the cuts. However, this will be a strange legislature in the sense that it will prepare the way for a referendum deemed unconstitutional as well as providing government and a parliament. 87 seats is 3 short of the 90 from 135 needed to garner legitimacy and a mirror image of the 2/3 needed to change the Spanish constitution, so if ERC hold strong, and they will need to, a referendum could be brought forward in the following 4 years. There is now no doubt, despite Madrid's media tonight, that in the case of a referendum going ahead, a majority in favour of secession is extremely possible. However, would the referendum threshold be pegged at?

Anonymous said...

A fantastic result for ERC to become the main party of the left in Catalonia. CiU's drop has unfortunately allowed foreign media to portray the election as a failure to get a referendum mandate. But ERC now has a very strong position to put pressure on CiU to deliver a referendum process, though it won't be easy.

Efrogwr said...

Thanks for the covereage and discussion. As you said at 19:50, MH, the media in Britain has been predictable. Radio 4 seems to identify independence as a personal policy of Mas and his party and have no sense of a wider political movement. The Guardian is telling us that the result is a "blow" to "separatists" and Mas will now need the support of "hardliners". Meanwhile the BBC's correspondent in Spain said on the BBC World Service last night that the winners were the central government in Madrid and their main bulletin headlines played a clip of a woman saying something along the lines that she was very afraid and had been to countries which had become independent and saw how they regretted it (played again during the main body of the report).
Efrogwr

Rhys said...

And as if by magic...

Catalan separatists 'fall short of majority' in elections

From The Guardian.

Martin Roberts doesn't even try to hide his position

Anonymous said...

Absurd coverage. Mas and CiU have only come out for indepedence about eighteen months ago. Pro-independence forces have been numerically strengthened in this election.

Anonymous said...

MH good stuff as usual.

The best, clearest and shortest round up of what this vote means is on the link to Catalonia Direct which on the right hand side of this page http://www.cataloniadirect.info/

It'd be worth the Guardian, Spanish and Brit nats reading. Basically, there's no turning back. The independence movement has a clear and solid majority.

Anonymous said...

ERC will not compromise one jot on holding a referendum. This result gives the idea of a referendum momentum. CiU can't back out now, and most of their members and voters don't want to back out. An agreed process needs to be drawn up so that one can be held and internationally monitored. What we need to see now is a clear statement of intent from Mas. I don't follow Catalan news as much as i'd like so will try and watch the English language blogs from there.

Pads said...

The Guardian correspondent reporting on the Catalan elections - from Madrid.

It looks like he just shoved copy from the Madrid press into Google translate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19.26

_Follow Catalan news on www.cataloniadirect.info which has links to other Catalan sites in English.

I also read www.vikaweb.cat daily. If you use googlechrome as your serch engine you can get on scren translation. Easy.

Anonymous said...

The communist pro-independence party CUP also got into parliament for the first time, and the Greens (pro-independence) got 3 more seats, but SI lost their 4 seats. There's a net gain for independence and a substantial swing to the left. CiU has been pretty unpopular in government despite the moves toward independence.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that's www.vilaweb.cat

Anonymous said...

Just to make a further comment on the left-right nature of politics when an Anon said this-

"The Labour party in Wales for all it's rhetoric, is in many ways a more 'Christian Democrat' regionalist party. That's one reason they're in power. They're not in power because they are 'radical', socialist or quote Raymond Williams. They're in power precisely because conservative."

This is exactly the critique used by the left in Plaid. The Plaid left sees Labour in Wales as being a stale, conservative entity. Leanne Wood used the example of Labour in the Rhondda to show why she instead joined Plaid. She is the kind of person that is socialist and would quote Raymond Williams, but Labour in Wales generally aren't. Alot of people who would be Conservatives in England end up in Labour in Wales (because it is the route to influence and security if not outright power), particularly in the valleys.

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