Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 03:57:30 AM EST
The Spanish region of Cataluna held regional elections yesterday in which the leading party of the ruling tripartite, the regional section of the Socialist Party (PSC), lost 5 seats. The opposition centre nationalist CiU gained 2 seats while the real story of the evening were the 3 seat gain by the ICV, a Left(as in Linkes Partei)-Green coalition, and the entrance of Ciutadans, a reformist left grouping famous for the appearance of its leader, Alberto Rivera, nude but for his cupped hand in a campaign poster, with 3 seats in the Generalitat, the regional parliament. I will post this on the other side. (Nudity warning!)
Party Ideology 2006% '06 Seats '03 Seats Change
CiU Nationalist 31.52 48 46 +2
PSC Socialist 31.16 37 42 -5
ERC Nationalist 14.06 21 23 -2
PP Conservative 10.64 14 15 -1
ICV Left/Green 9.56 12 9 +3
Ciuta Left/Reform 3.04 3 0 +3
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
The Catalan Political Scene
After the 2003 elections, the Tripartite (PSC, ICV, and ERC) held 74 (54.8%) of the Generalitat's 135 seats, in this year they have emerged with a bare majority of 70 (51.9%) seats. 68 seats are needed to form a majority, and the current tripartite (with the possible addition of Ciutatans, for 73 seats (54.1%) of 135) is the only likely coalition. A brief history of the Catalan political scene.
The CiU had tractionally been the dominant Catalan party with its previous leader, Jordi Pujol, holding the position of President of the Generalitat from 1980-2003. In that year, the tripartite elected leader from the PSC, and the relations between PSOE, the Spanish Socialist Party, the Catalan Socialist affiliate (PSC), and the ERC (trans. Republican Nationalist Left) have been troubled. ERC leader Josep Lluís Carod-Rovira has been something of a ticking time bomb for PSOE, creating scandal by meeting with ETA members in France before the 2004 elections, and being stubborn about the proposed autonomy statute, the Estatut.
While the PP coexisted peacefully with the CiU and its centrist nationalism, over the past 10 years the PP has grown increasingly antagonistic to regional parties, and has developed into a party that looks fondly upon the enforced Castilian dominance of the Franco era. During a 2005 protest against the proposed Basque autonomy statute organized by the PP, PP sympathizers carried a banner with the slogan "Rovira to the gas chamber." Not to be outdone militant ERC youth sent a tape to the Catalan PP leader, Josep Pique, containing a death threat. Catalunya has traditionally been the more peaceful of Spain's restive regions, yet the past year has seen a rise in tensions as Catalans assert claims to further autonomy. The issue of Catalan fiscal independence has been particularly tricky, because transfers from wealthy Catalunya to poorer regions allow them to provide higher service levels than would be possible on their own.
Because of the anomosity between the PP and ERC, a grand right/nationalist coallition between the CiU, ERC, and PP is impossible. The only possible pacting partner with the PP is CiU, and that combination only yields 62 of the needed 68 seats. Because the long term stability of another tripartite between the PSC, ERC, and ICV is questonable, two other possibilities emerge.
A nationalist/left coallition, in this CiU would try to gain the support of the ERC by pressing for further Catalan autonomy. This yields only 69 seats, the barest possible majority. In order to be stable, the CiU would need to pact with the ICV as well, this would yield 81 seats, a stable majority. The other possibility would be another grand coalition between the CiU and the PSC, while difficult growing anomosity between PSOE and the ERC, and pressure from the PSOE headquarters in Madrid to the PSC to rein in the ERC, make this possible it not plausible.
Again the real story of the night is the rise of the Left, with ICV holding more seats than it has since 1984, and the emergence of Ciutatans. Speaking of which, here is the promised poster.
Translating the text, the top line says "Your party is born." Below that it says "People are what matter to us." The block of text in the middle says:
We don't care where you were born.
We don't care what language you speak.
We don't care what clothes you wear.
We care about you.