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Catalonia election thread

by IdiotSavant Sat Jan 30th, 2021 at 06:23:26 AM EST

Following a court decision that elections could not be delayed despite the pandemic, Catalonia is going to the polls on February 14th. Currently the polls show the ERC, JxCAT (both pro-independence) and Socialists (anti-independence) all roughly on 20% and battling for the lead (the latest one puts the ERC ahead). The anti-independence, authoritarian Citizens, who were the largest party at the last election, have bled over half their support and are going to be relegated to a distant fourth. As for the Spanish People's Party, they're dueling with the misogynist Nazis in Vox down in the minor ranks.

Currently the pro-independence parties - ERC, JxCAT, CUP and EnComu - are expected to get over 50% of the vote and retain power for another term. But the pandemic is likely to affect turnout, so who knows what will happen.

ElNacional: Jordi Cuixart: "Let's fill the ballot boxes with pro-independence votes"
Political prisoner Jordi Cuixart has called on Catalans to "fill the ballot boxes with pro-independence votes" in Catalonia's parliamentary elections, now definitively scheduled for Sunday February 14th. Cuixart, the jailed president of the Òmnium Cultural association, left Lledoners penitentiary this Friday morning after yesterday's decision by Catalan justice department officials to restore the political prisoners' rights to a more open Level 3 prison regime.

"The same powers that convicted us are those which now seek to force us to put our health at risk; the answer must be clear and determined. Let's fill the boxes with pro-independence ballot papers! Let no one stay home on 14th February", said Cuixart, in reference to the Catalan High Court's suspension of the earlier government decree postponing the vote till May 30th for public health reasons.

I'm wondering how long it will be before Spain tries to cancel his leave to shut him up. Which will likely go down like a Franco statue, but I'm not sure they can help themselves.

by IdiotSavant on Sat Jan 30th, 2021 at 06:31:37 AM EST
CatalanNews: Uncertain election campaign kicks off in Catalonia amid coronavirus fears
The most uncertain election campaign in years kicked off in Catalonia on Thursday at midnight, with political parties forced to run in an election that most of them agreed to postpone over coronavirus concerns, but were overruled by a court.


Catalan parties have pledged to reduce in-person rallies, with some announcing fully online campaigns, and urged their followers to abide by mobility restrictions and avoid leaving their municipality to attend political events.

The pandemic is expected to impact turnout:

CatalanNews: Election turnout likely to fall despite rise in mail-in ballots, say experts

But parties may have a hard time convincing their followers to head to the polls when hospitals and ICUs are struggling to cope with the third wave of contagions. Especially since most political groups agreed only a week ago to adjourn the vote over health concerns, only to be overruled by a court.

"Some people are afraid to be a member of a polling station, and others are saying they will not vote," said the Catalan government's election director, Ismael Peña-López, in an interview with eldiario.es.

While he says that the government has worked to make sure polling stations will be "one of the safest public spaces," this might not translate into people going to vote.

They're expecting turnout to be as low as 60%, which is Not Good. But that's what happens when you're forced to hold an election during a pandemic.

by IdiotSavant on Sat Jan 30th, 2021 at 06:39:21 AM EST
Franco has been dead for close to fifty years but Castilian triumphalism lives on.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2021 at 04:01:19 PM EST
I do not understand this idea that by separating your neighborhood from your surroundings, you are going to solve your problems.
by asdf on Mon Feb 1st, 2021 at 06:34:18 PM EST
Simples really. If your neighbourhood is doing better than your surroundings, separating from your surroundings means you can keep more of the bounty for yourselves.  You can convince yourself (and your neighbours, if possible), that separation is good for both, even if you really believe that you are doing better than they are because you are a better neighbourhood, with better people, processes, scientists and what have you.

Where it gets complicated is when your prosperity is dependent on their contribution, and they decide not to play ball after the separation. You have convinced yourself you could do far better on your own, and it turns out, you can't, and everybody loses out. But that's not the "happy ever after" fairytale that everyone wants to hear, so it becomes a case of The Emperor's new clothes where everybody tries to convince each other they are far better off.

Until the reality dawns that they are not, usually brought home by the protests of a younger generation.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 1st, 2021 at 06:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, your solutions get to be yours. And as Frank pointed out in the Irish thread, that matters hugely to people. The simple desire of people to run their own lives and not be under someone else's boot tends to trump any economic hardship (this is also the lesson from decolonisation, though the UK seems not to have understood it).

Are Catalans really under Spain's boot? Fully half of them seem to think so, thanks in part to Spain doing its very best to give them that impression for the past decade. If Spain radically changed its approach, then that would probably change. But that doesn't look like its going to happen any time soon.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Feb 1st, 2021 at 09:32:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm completely innocent in the ways of political philosophy but it sure seems like this is a step along the way towards monarchy. Country splits up in to smaller and smaller provinces and dukedoms and baronies to the point where you can have a good old War of the Roses and end up with a new king over everybody.
by asdf on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 04:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily monarchy. Back in the early 90's I was a somewhat of an eurosceptic, but reading Mark Mazover's Dark Continent and another book about "Regional Europe"  kinda changed that. I suddenly saw Europe's Natural State as a quilt of regions, and only something like EU could help restore that.

I like having regions with unique character, I like people using multiple languages during the day. Not because it's multicultural but because it's European. Where I live it's so natural people don't actually even notice it.

Unfortunately it's not proceeding the way I hoped it would. Too much nationalism, too little regionalism. It's along way yet to Europe where it works for everyone like it works for Sami people; it doesn't matter (mush) if you live in Finland, Sweden or Norway, because the borders don't matter, just your regional identity.

But one can hope.

by pelgus on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 at 07:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. If everyone is in Europe, then borders don't matter so much. And its worth noting that Catalan independence groups are pro-Europe (and rather moreso than the Spanish government, given their attitude to recent EU court rulings).
by IdiotSavant on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 02:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain arose out of dynastic combination. Ferdinand of Castile married Catharine of Aragon. Elites were educated and accustomed to learning different languages, but the people over whom the ruled were not. Nor were their ways of life necessarily similar, even within each Kingdom. Formal religion was not an issue as both states were Catholic. The union between Aragon and Barcelona had come by marriage in the 12th Century, but the King of Aragon retained the title of Count of Barcelona, which included Catalonia, and later the kingdoms of Majorca, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia. So, through dynastic mergers Catalans went from being a significant part of Aragon to being an odd part of Spain and the Catalans had opposed the loss of their sovereignty.

Aragon mostly spoke a regional dialect of Spanish, while Catalan is a distinct language spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca and the region of Roussillon, part of France. Castile and Aragon itself were inland states, while Catalonia was sea fairing. While kingdoms and dynasties decline in significance the language and culture of the people remained. And the hostility towards rulers perceived as foreign remained.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2021 at 03:11:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Catalan News: Election drill: health protocols tested as election workers opt out en masse
Health protocols for the February 14 election are already being tested at several polling stations.

Drills to test election day health and safety protocols were carried out in towns such as Sant Julià de Ramis, near the northern town of Girona.

A one-way walking system for voters, hand sanitizer at the entrance, and ensuring safety distances are kept in lines were among the rules rehearsed.

Poll workers also practiced using safety screens, FFP face masks and gowns, full PPE equipment needed especially for the 7 pm to 8 pm slot, reserved for Covid-positive voters, their close contacts and others who may have the disease.

Participants were given a guide on the measures, with some of them acting as voters and others as election workers - the job they will all have to perform on February 14, if they turn up.

Being an election worker in Catalonia is like being selected for jury-service in NZ: its a random thing. And a huge number of workers are just refusing to turn up, (correctly IMHO) deciding that the risk of dying isn't worth it. Which does not bode well for the election, or for voter turnout.

by IdiotSavant on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 01:08:52 AM EST
Catalan News: Pro-independence parties pledge to not form government with Socialists
All pro-independence parties including the four main ones running in Catalonia's election on February 14--Junts per Catalunya, PDeCAT, CUP, and Esquerra Republicana--signed a written agreement on Wednesday evening promising not to form a government with the Socialists.

"No matter what the results of the polls may be, in no case will an agreement be reached with the Socialists," the text of the document, which was drafted by an association called Catalans for Independence, reads.

Signed by presidential candidates Laura Borràs (JxCat), Àngels Chacón (PDeCAT), and Dolors Sabater (CUP), as well as ERC's communications secretary Sergi Sabrià, the document states that the parties made a commitment to achieve independence in 2017 but were "unable to develop a joint strategy" for that aim or to "face Spain's repression."

Which basicly sticks a stake through the heart of the Socialist's dreams of government, and former health minister Illa's dreams of the presidency. They'd been hoping for a deal with the ERC, but clearly the latter have learned from their experience at a national level and decided that the Socialists cannot be trusted. Which means that voters have the same choice as last time: a Catalan coalition, or a Spanish one. The presence of fascists in the latter should make it no choice at all.

by IdiotSavant on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 at 01:23:03 PM EST
Catalan News: Far-right Vox is the dark horse of the Catalan elections
Vox has risen through the polls, with Ignacio Garriga, the far-right party's presidential candidate, expected to join the first wave of Vox delegates in the Catalan parliament. After the fall of right-leaning party Cs, Vox have found themselves growing in popularity, despite some very controversial opinions.

Recently, the party organized a range of events in the main Catalan cities to mark the 42nd anniversary of Spain's constitution, which were attended by neo-nazi groups where fascist symbols were seen.

A far-right party, Vox's politics are ultranationalist, eurosceptic, economically liberal as well as extremely anti-immigration, with Garriga already landing himself in hot water this election for inciting hatred against Islamic communities. Their opposition to Catalan independence is particularly strong, and not only was their secretary-general, Javier Ortega Smith, the private prosecutor in the 2017 referendum organizer's trial, but they have also made clear that they believe the punishments for the pro-independence jailed leaders were not harsh enough.

In fact, they link their anti-independence policies with their anti-immigration views, suggesting that the independence movement is the root of problems to do with immigration. Garriga has been heavily proposing this campaign that Catalonia has apparently become a hotbed for Islamic radicalism through this.

Basicly, they're unrepentant fascists. Last time, they didn't make it in. But the PP and Citizens have spent the last 4 years pandering to them, and voters are clearly deciding to vote for the real thing rather than the imitator (which is what always happens, yet parties never seem to figure it out...)

by IdiotSavant on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 05:40:15 AM EST
Guardian: Catalonia goes to the polls amid Covid and independence debate
Catalonia is voting in a regional election overshadowed by the Covid pandemic and dominated by the continuing debate over independence from the rest of Spain.

Nine parties are contesting the election but polls suggest a tight race between the unionist Catalan Socialist party (PSC), the pro-independence Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the similarly secessionist Together for Catalonia party.

The election will serve as yet another barometer of the strength of the independence movement, which has set aside festering divisions to present a united front against the resurgent socialists. To date, pro-independence parties have never managed to win 50% of the vote.

by IdiotSavant on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 10:29:10 AM EST
Cataln News: Vote counting underway for Catalan elections - live updates
Counting is underway in the 2021 Catalan election after polls closed at 8 pm following a day of voting under tight safety measures due to Covid-19.

With over 80% of the ballots already counted, provisional results put pro-independence parties on course to retaining their parliamentary majority, with ERC and JxCat in a neck and neck race for second place with 33 and 32 seats respectively. The Socialists are tied at the top with ERC, with 33 MPs, but clearly prevail in terms of vote share (24% vs 21%). They are experiencing a stunning rise in votes, but it's unclear whether their victory will allow them to form a government since parties in favor of a split with Spain would get 74 seats, also counting far-left CUP's 9.

Turnout is apparently a historic lw, which is what happens when have an election during a pandemic.

by IdiotSavant on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 10:01:13 PM EST
Catalan News: Election result: Both Socialists and Esquerra win 33 seats as pro-indy bloc retains majority
The Socialists have edged victory in the 2021 Catalan election after an incredibly tight count that saw them emerge with 22.99% of the votes, just ahead of pro-independence parties Esquerra (ERC) on 21.33% and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) on 20.09%.

In terms of number of seats it was even tighter, with 33 MPs being elected for both the Socialists and ERC, and JxCat just one behind with 32, with 98.80% of the votes counted.


Pro-independence parties retained a majority in the 135-member chamber on a day that saw a record low turnout of 53%. The anti-capitalist CUP surged from 4 seats to 9, meaning a total of 74 MPs in favor of a Catalan republic, 4 more than in 2017.

They also won more than 50% of the votes for the first time.

Which is another mandate for the independence movement. meanwhile, the virulently anti-independence Citizens got slaughtered, with votes moving to fascist Vox on the right, or the more moderate (but still anti-independence) Socialists.

by IdiotSavant on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 11:23:27 PM EST
ElNacional: Independence bloc wins in Catalan vote with ERC able to lead, as Socialists fall short
The polls were right when they predicted a three-way tie in the Catalan elections this Sunday February 14th. The PSC (Catalan Socialist Party), pro-Spain unionist party led by former Spanish health minister Salvador Illa, finished as the largest party in the parliamentary elections for the first time, in both votes and seats, with 33 deputies and 22.99% of the vote, with 98.77% counted. But it is a completely insufficient victory that leaves the second-ranked party, the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and its candidate, Pere Aragonès, closer to the presidency of a new Catalan government.

ERC, the Republican Left, tie with the Socialists at 33 seats, having captured a slightly smaller percentage of votes, 21.33%. And by a single seat, they also win the battle for hegemony within the pro-independence parties, over the third rival in the fight, Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia). The Junts party led by the president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, with Laura Borràs as candidate, has come third with 32 seats, two fewer than in the 2017 elections, and 20.10% of the vote. For the first time, the pro-independence vote exceeds 50% in a Catalan parliamentary election.

(For those wondering, the 50% includes the CUP, as well as pro-independence parties which failed to get into parliament)

by IdiotSavant on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 01:18:32 AM EST
Overall, the results seem to indicate a preference for a more moderate negotiated approach to relations between Madrid and Catalunya with the anti-independence Socialists and more moderate pro-independence ERC marginally ahead. However the overall support for some form of independence continues to rise, with support for pro-independence parties now over 50% for the first time.

The hardline pro-Union opposition is now dominated by the neo-fascist Vox with both Ciudadanos and PP losing seats and becoming increasingly irrelevant. The Spanish Socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez will be wary of being seen as being too aligned to Vox and will try to pursue a "middle path"  or "third way" between neo-fascist unionists and separatist Catalans. Now where have we heard this before?

But at least it's a move away from the confrontationalist approach of Vox and the PP, and offers some hope of a less conflictual relationship in the future. Sanchez needs to be bold and release the imprisoned Catalan leaders immediately.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 16th, 2021 at 11:59:12 AM EST

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