Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



Catalan independence fighters emerge even stronger from the regional elections

Father Aragones is expected to preside over the new Catalan Parliament (photo: ERC)
Father Aragones is expected to preside over the new Catalan Parliament (photo: ERC)
SPAIN. If the early regional elections in Catalonia were won by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) on Sunday, February 14, 2021, with 23% of the vote and 33 (compared to 17 before) of the 135 seats, the independentists may well retain the executive branch of Parliament.

The PSC, affiliated to the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party of the head of the Spanish government Pedro Sánchez, intends to present its candidate Salvador Illa, Spanish Minister of Health, who came from Madrid to "turn the page of independence", in his own words. However, he will find before him precisely those pro-independence fighters who have been strengthened by this election and who, together, have an absolute majority with four more seats. Those of Esquerra (ERC - center-left), the most moderate, obtained 33 seats, and those of Ensemble pour la Catalunya (Junts - center-right), 32. Their coalition has presided over Parliament since 2017. In addition, the nine votes of the CUP (radical left-wing pro-independence party) were also added.

ERC, which has supported Pedro Sánchez in the Madrid Parliament since 2018 and allows him to retain power, is expected to provide the next president of the Catalan executive in the person of Pere Aragonès.


Amnesty for independence leaders?

Ciudadanos collapses from thirty-six to six deputies. Two other highlights punctuated this election: The arrival, for the first time of the far-right party Vox, in Parliament with eleven seats and the lowest turnout since the end of the dictatorship with 53.5% of voters (compared to 79% in December 2017).

In October 2017, the organization of a referendum on self-determination, prohibited by the Spanish judiciary, and an attempt to secede from the Kingdom resulted in a political crisis in Catalonia. It led to the exile of Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalan parliament, to Belgium, and the arrest of nine independence leaders, who were still in prison after being sentenced by the Supreme Court to sentences of nine to thirteen years in prison. If Pere Aragonès becomes president of the Catalan parliament, he may well negotiate an amnesty. But he could also organize a new referendum on independence, this time with the consent of the Spanish government. Which seems to be wishful thinking.


Eric Apim

Monday, February 15th 2021

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