Summary of the election results of the Catalan Parliament on February 14, 2021. Credit: Generalitat de CatalunyaMIAMI, February 18 (IPS) – The recent result of the elections to the Catalan Parliament has shown a mixture of repetition of certain earlier aspects and some spectacular novelties. However, the eternal dimension of a parliamentary confrontation with the proportional variant remains intact.
Despite the development of modern electoral systems and the interpretation of the data that have been simplified in recent years, a difficult prediction remains. This includes the decisions the parties must make if they must form alliances to form a government when virtual ties arise.
“And what now?”. The central question remains intact. But not only the anonymous voters, but also the experts and the leaders themselves have to make precise decisions. It’s the general question from Gerard Piqué, the Barcelona football star, only surpassed in popularity by Messi.
Of course, Piqué doesn’t dare to offer solutions. Therefore, it is useful to look at the possible alternatives in order to solve the complicated panorama of results.
Although this is not the exclusive result of these elections, a historical aspect of Catalonia’s parliamentary development has been fully established since the restoration of democracy in 1978. The Catalan elections are no longer a democratic exercise peculiar to the Catalans and have little connection with the rest of Spain and with Europe as a whole.
Catalan parliamentarianism has suffered from a European quality. The elections to form the European Parliament have historically been viewed as a kind of “national primary”. European voters looked inward and voted sometimes as a punishment and sometimes as a reward for the domestic behavior of the national parties.
It is true, however, that this behavior has improved recently thanks to the persistent reform of European legislation which, for example, allows EU citizens in other states to vote in another country. Another means is the tendency to propose Europe-wide candidacies. However, the burden of national weight can still be felt.
This European stood out in the theater of the Catalan elections. The elections in Catalonia have been reserved for Catalanism for years, as the “Castilians” viewed the Catalan competitions as a specialty of the Catalans.
The result was that the Spanish speakers stayed at home. That is why the Catalan socialist candidates usually won the elections in Spain, while in Catalonia the party developed by the then moderate nationalist Jordi Pujol did so. This scheme has practically disappeared.
There are sectors, more on the right than on the left, that have tried to insert arguments that insist on the existence of “ethnic” elements (if not “racist”) into the configuration of the electoral ideals of independence alternatives.
Joaquín RoyBut this threat has generally been neutralized. Significantly, the majority of the various arguments prioritize a “bourgeois” nationalism of choice.
In the current panorama, it is useful to first highlight the outstanding news. In other words, did a man bite a dog? Obviously, some facts need to be taken into account because of their obvious novelty and therefore because of their implications for the consequences of the elections.
In this dimension, the details that affect the extreme and moderate right-wing parties stand out. Significantly, the parties in this ideological sector have suffered from those seen as “constitutionalist” as well as from those who see themselves as “disruptive” in some ways because of their varying degrees of loyalty to the creed.
In the first dimension, it is advisable to weigh the spectacular setback from Ciudadanos. This formation was created by centrist leader Albert Rivera in Catalonia as a dam against the stubborn monopoly of convergence nationalism, which was later transformed into independence search.
It consisted of expanding its area of operation to the rest of Spanish territory and leaving the Catalan stage under the direction of Inés Arrimadas, a young woman born in Andalusia who impressed with her knowledge of Catalan.
In the elections held under the control of the Spanish government due to the application of Article 155 of the Constitution, Arrimadas managed to win the largest number of people after the abolition of Catalan autonomy as a sanction for holding the independence referendum on October 1, 2017 capture seats in the Catalan Parliament. But she couldn’t sublimate the next step, as the independence parties collectively outperformed Ciudadanos in every alliance they put forward.
Rivera was temporarily some sort of arbiter on the state stage and was turned down in his attempt to neutralize the leading right-wing popular party. The failure has now been reflected in the catastrophe in the Catalan parliament. Collateral damage could be its annihilation in the Spanish global scene.
This possible scenario has now been dramatized by the appearance of the far-right VOX in the Spanish theater, breaking through the People’s Party’s previously reserved realm, and by their spectacular entry into the Catalan Parliament, which became their fourth-largest major formation.
The Spanish political fabric has long prided itself on not suffering from the presence of an extreme right. Now the myth has collapsed. It is pointless to argue that VOX is not the same as Germany (Alternative), France (Le Pen), Hungary (Orbán), or Poland (Justice and Peace). It was a novelty, feared and latent, without ever being sublimated. Now it’s a stark electoral reality.
The weakening of the remnants of moderate nationalism in Catalonia, now represented by the PDCat, shows that the impact of the official reaction (trial, conviction, prison) on the referendum’s attempt at independence only outweighs the influence of the parties that prioritize independence have reinforced insistence by referendum.
Of course, the solid argument put forward by the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) remains, which almost doubled the number of seats by proposing Salvador Illa as a candidate, thanks to the solid notoriety of his effective role as Minister of Health Government of Pedro Sánchez. As mentioned in this context, the centrist parties have not only disappeared in Spain, but have little to do in Catalonia, unless, paradoxically, that role is precisely reserved for the PSC itself.
On the left are formations that, without identifying with independence, insist on supporting the urgency of the sectors most in need. As different as Comuns-Podem (the Catalan branch of the populist party of Pablo Iglesias, partner of the PSOE in Madrid) and the anti-capitalist CUP, the independent parties can give the necessary votes for the formation of a government and the appointment of the President of the Generalitat.
All formations are aware of the economic problems arising from both the cruel effects of the pandemic and the structural unemployment dramatized by imprisonment enacted as a cure for the virus.
The interrelationship between politics and the economy is also noted at the moment of considering the apparent rise of Madrid’s economic strength over the past decade and its banking concentration, apart from the migration of the social services of Catalan companies to Valencia and other capital cities as a refuge from the independence movement.
The election results leave different details, a confirmation of the past or corrections of certain dimensions. For example, the dilemma between independence and constitutionalism is reflected in the continuation of the concentration of the former on the inner areas of Catalan territory, while constitutionalism (from the right or from the left) populates urban areas, particularly Barcelona.
If the elections did not reveal the emergence of an undisputed leader trying to answer Piqué’s question, it is appropriate to weigh the outcome of a solution that turns out to be a favorite: the resignation of Illa and the PSK to vote for the Parliament to decide.
This “gift” would later be rewarded with a jump to Madrid: Esquerra would continue to support the PSOE with the governorship of the Spanish Congress and with the approval of the national budgets.
Would the success of the ERC return to Barcelona and spawn the reborn leadership of Oriol Junqueras for whom Aragonés would hold the position? This detail would place us before the urgent outcome of the question (problem?) Of the imprisonment of the leaders of the “trials” and the referendum.
The current status of partial freedom, which the convicts unusually enjoyed during the elections, therefore plays an unusual role. The pressure to approve an amnesty becomes an irreplaceable focus for any consideration of the consequences of the elections. In other words, the simple counting of votes to configure the executive leadership in Parliament is not the end.
Joaquín Roy is Jean Monnet Professor and Director of the Center of the European Union at the University of Miami
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