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I think the way you describe the parties' ideologies is too simplistic. Nationalism is an important issue and has in fact dominated the agenda over the past term. This is despite the fact that the government was left-wing and the opposition was right-wing. In fact, the 3-party coalition was described as progressive catalanist with emphasis on the catalanist. ICV was the glue without which PSC and ERC could not be together, and ERC was the kingmaker lest time as it will be this time around.

So, the Catalan political compass, like the Basque one, has for its main axis the nationalist one, and for its secondary axis the left-right one.

On this note, given the Social Democrats' acceptance of the conventional economic wisdom, the economic left-right axis is losing importance also in Spain as a whole, and being replaced by a nationalism axis. When the economic left-right distinction between the main parties fades, "left-right" begins to refer more and more to libertarian/authoritarian.

So, on the nationalist axis we have:

  • ERC: Independentist
  • CiU: Catalanist Nationalist
  • ICV: Catalanist Nationalist
  • PSC: Spanish Federalist
  • C: Catalanist Anti-nationalist
  • PP: Spanish Nationalist Anti-catalanist

And, on the standard "political compass":

  • ERC: Extreme left
  • ICV: Left/Green
  • PSC: Social Democrat
  • C: Centrist
  • CiU: Liberal + Christian Democrat coalition
  • PP: Extreme right

I am not the first to call the PP "Extreme right" (neoliberal/neofascist), even ABC, the traditional (Monarchist) right-wing newspaper has recently done so.

CiU is part of the Europe of the Nations group in the European Parliament. Like the Basque PNV they belong in the European People's Party more than the PP, but the PP shut them out, and they may have put their nationalism ahead of their Christian Democrat/Liberal ideology. CiU represents the traditional Calalan bourgeoisie.

ERC is the Catalan equivalent of Batasuna, extreme left independentists with  past ties to violent independentism (ERC under Heribert Barrera was the political arm of Terra Lliure, which was active in the 1970's) and current ties with the squatter/anarchist movement in Barcelona. ERC has a 25-30 year lead on Batasuna in their transformation into a mainstream political party, obviously.

The PSC's mistake has been to try to out-nationalist CiU in order to attain power. They have paid dearly as people have voted for the real thing, especially after Zapatero imposed the replacement of Maragall [of 1992 olympic fame] with Montilla, though bilingual, is a charnego (immigrant from outside Catalonia).

Finally, let us not forget that the Catalan Statute was hammered out in one long Saturday by Zapatero and CiU's Artur Mas, much to the surprise of Maragall and Unio's Duran-Lleida, and to the chagrin of ERC's Carod-Rovira, who then tightened his position until Maragall was forced to throw ERC out of the 3-party government. [Note: CiU is a coalition of Christian Democrat Unio, led by Duran who is the CiU leader in the Madrid parliament and might become a minister after the next election cycle; and Liberal Convergencia which is the senior coalition partner and led by Mas and formerly by Pujol who was Catalan President for 5 consecutive terms]

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 05:51:25 AM EST
Actually, on the Nationalist axis, a big tension between the PSOE and its member party PSC (for the PSOE is a federal party) is that the PSC is Federalist Catalanist and PSOE is Spanish Federalist.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CiU faces little competition for Catalan right votes from the PP, but the ERC faces a more serious threat from the PSC.  In the event of an CiU-ERC coaliton, if the ERC is able to marginalize PSC by forcing Madrid to rein in the PSC affiliate, the may be able to shake free another 10-15% from the PSC vote total.  That would create a distinct, divergent nationalist, and left right cleavage.

Conceptualizing the vertical axis as the nationalist cleavage, and the horizontal as the left right you get the following:

                     Nationalist                    
                     ERC  |  CiU
               Left ==|== Right
                     PSC  |  PP                    
                   Anti-Nationalist    

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn formatting.

2nd try.

     Nationalist                
     ERC  |  CiU
     Left =|= Right
     PSC  |  PP                    
   Anti-Nationalist

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think ERC competes with ICV on the left, and that PSC is more threatened by Ciutadans.

The PSC is going to have its electoral space eaten away because it tries to be all things to all people while ICV, ERC, C, and CiU have a narrower focus and thus a clearer message.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:34:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the Left/Right axis, I think that ERC is to the right of ICV, and to the left of PSC. If ERC moves to the center, they can draw from PSC among those who are Catalanist.  Because around 30% of the population are immigrants, charnegos, that suggest that if left nationalist were to gravitate towards the ERC, the PSC could lose 10-15%.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think ERC is more radical left while ICV is more on the green/refounded communist side. So I'd still call ERC extreme left. Green is in its own separate axis.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 07:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, the 3-party coalition was described as progressive catalanist with emphasis on the catalanist.

Note also that the Left swept the National Senate elections in Catalonia last time (12 senators to 4 for CiU) but the way this was achieved was that the PSC did not run under the PSC/PSOE banner but under Entesa Catalana de Progrès [Catalan Progressive Entente, see this old comment of mine], in other words, the 3-party coalition under a progressive catalanist banner.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All true, I limited my ideology description and typology so that my chart wouldn't wrap the text to the next line.

What you say about the nationalist element superceding the left/right element is important.  In the Basque Country, the PNV has no credible left opponent. The PCTV/EHAK is a marginal force, not of the relative equivalence of that ERC has to CiU.  ERC is the kingmaker, a nationalist coalition would render national national poltics meaningless in Catalan elections.

The development of divergent political systems like this will lead to the divergence of the Spanish regions, and possibly the disintegration of Spain in the long term. That would entail Balkanization, not a bright prospect for Western Europe.  Thus only a CiU-PSC coallition is acceptable. No one will pact with the PP save possibly the CiU, that means the two coalitions above are the only viable options.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"No one will pact with the PP save possibly the CiU, that means the two coalitions above are the only viable options."

I hope I am right to think that not even CiU would dare pact with the PP, given the acrimony against anything catalan they have created.  


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:29:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mas has even notarised his intention not to make a deal with the PP.

Honestly, if the National PP had not been so rabidly anti-catalan, Josep Pique could have taken a catalanist anti-nationalist position and done better at the expense of Ciutadans.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:36:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Basque Country, the PNV has no credible left opponent.

EA is the credible left opponent of the PNV. It is a splinter party founded by the former PNV lehendakari Carlos Garaikoetxea and has in recent years been running in a coalition as PNV/EA, but I think the coalition is splitting apart again.

Aralar is also a credible left threat to the PNV, but if Batasuna does refound itself and renounce violence Aralar is likely to disappear by merging into it or into the PSE (as Euzkadiko Ezquerra once did).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I heeded MfM's advice and put ICV to the left of ERC.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 05:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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