elections in Catalonia threatened by the specter of electoral repetition

The electoral mode has been activated in Catalonia after the monumental failure of the rejection of the budgets. The date chosen by President Aragonés is May 12, the day of Saint Pancras, considered the patron saint against all false testimonies, perjury and oaths taken in vain, as well as work, prosperity and health. Meanwhile, Catalonia is left without budgets and prolongs the agony of a legislature that has been inert since Pere Aragonés was elected and with all pending issues, some pressing such as a drought that predicts a summer with restrictions. The Catalans return to the polls with an electoral advance. The last complete legislature was chaired by José Montilla (2006-2010) and since then they have voted six times, including the May appointment. The political landscape has changed. The debate is not only identity-based – the process is in the balance – but also ideological. The independence movement is broken and divided but constitutionalism is far from being able to impose itself strongly, so the results of May 12 may not clarify anything and it cannot be ruled out that Catalans will have to return to the polls in a repeat election given the impossibility. to form a government because the independence movement does not seem to achieve an absolute majority and the pact, today, seems highly unlikely.

Republican Left. Republicans still have the suicidal gene that characterizes them very much alive. Aragonés presented the budgets in Parliament without having tied up the support. If he won, he would have 2.4 billion to spread to all sectors. He also contemplated defeat and, therefore, an electoral advance because in ERC they are convinced that they have checked the PSC – due to the wear and tear of the Koldo case – and Junts because their candidate will continue to be a hologram. Those of Oriol Junqueras, who stepped aside just two months ago, plan to present themselves as the victims of the Comunes-Junts clamp that has sunk a government, but the truth is that the Government had been sunk for months, and they see themselves with strength to defeat Puigdemont. Aragonés, if he wants to be president again, has to win, something that no poll reflects. In fact, his right-hand man in the Government, Sergi Sabrià, said two weeks ago in an interview that “ERC will never support the PSC”, tacit recognition of the socialist victory.

Together for Catalonia. Carles Puigdemont will be able to run because legally he has no problem, but repeating what happened in 2021 has its risks. In the last elections, Puigdemont headed the list and lost, he said that he would return and did not return, and he preferred to take refuge in the European Parliament which guarantees him, at least for the moment, impunity. Will he repeat arguments in 2023? This is the doubt. His people are threatening his candidacy but the real candidate will be two or three on the list because Puigdemont will once again be an MEP and will leave the Parliament. That will be his Achilles heel because his lack of commitment that has distanced him from a good part of his electorate fed up with unfulfilled promises will be ugly.

Popular Unity Candidacy. The anti-system independentists were key in the election of Aragonés and have passed the legislature without pain or glory. In the different electoral events they have received serious correctives. In general they disappeared from Congress and in the municipal elections, their strong point, they plummeted. The polls do not predict a rise nor a drastic decline, but in the devilish Catalan chessboard they can be decisive.

Other independence candidacies. The far-right Aliança Catalana of Silvia Orriols, mayor of Ripoll thanks to Junts, will run and the polls place her in the Parliament. Those from Puigdemont may be the biggest victims of the entry of the most xenophobic option of the independence movement. The electoral advance has caught the wayward Junts – Clara Ponsatí and Jordi Graupera – on the wrong foot, who wanted to present their candidacy on April 23 together with a part of the Catalan National Assembly. His participation in the elections now remains to be seen.

Socialist Party of Catalonia. “We need a president, not a candidate,” was the first thing Salvador Illa said after the electoral preview. The polls show him a winner but the PSC needs a solid victory to form a government and turn Catalan politics around while giving strength to the very weakened Pedro Sánchez government. The PSC has not been caught off guard by Aragonés's ordeal because it has been cultivating the figure of Illa for some time as a counterpoint to the misgovernment of Catalonia over the last 12 years. A comprehensive victory for Illa is the only way for Catalonia not to enter a dead end.

Citizens. The enthusiasm of its leader Carlos Carrizosa in the face of the electoral advance is surprising because the orange party is going to disappear according to all the polls. In seven years they have squandered their political capital.

Popular Party. Alejandro Fernández will surely be the candidate after winning the fight against Génova, but he is not yet. The reorganization of the center-right space predicts an important rise of the PP at the expense of Ciudadanos and of recovering part of the electorate that went to Vox. The Popular Party will regain prominence in the Parliament and could be key to avoiding an independence government by giving support to Salvador Illa. Curious situation in the face of the monumental fight between PSOE and PP in this legislature that can shed new light on a situation that in Barcelona led Collboni to the mayor's office.

Vox. The extreme right may lose steam but will remain very present although without its current strength. It remains to be seen the transfer of votes from Vox to the pro-independence far-right in the most rural Catalonia and whether those in Abascal will resent the return home – the PP – of a part of their electorate. The presence of Vox and Aliança Catalana with whom no one will want to negotiate yet makes the formation of a new government more complex.

Common. The culprits of the electoral advance forced by Ada Colau who demanded to enter the municipal government of Barcelona in exchange for her support. The Hard Rock is a mere excuse – in the territory where the Commons will be located they do not exist – and her move has made it clear that Yolanda Díaz does not rule in Catalonia – nor in Podemos – and her relations with Colau do not go through his best moment. The vice president will be doomed to her third defeat in six months. Galicia, Euskadi -where Sumar will have only 3 deputies- and Catalonia where she may lose a third of her current representation. Podemos barely exists but voices from this formation clamor to appear outside of Sumar.