Dimitris Rapidis

Yesterday’s parliamentary election in Catalonia launched after the demand of the people of the region to define their electoral preferences with respect to the independence of their land. The large demonstration on the National Day of Catalonia, September 11, after the failing talks between Spain’s PM Rajoy and the President of Catalonia Artur Mas for greater fiscal autonomy, was considered to be the departing point. The outcome of the ballot box clearly unveils a number of different messages.

First, there is a constant division in Catalonia when we refer to the Left. This division clearly impedes a united Left to claim a stronger representation and win the elections. The three leftist parties -i.e. Republican Left, Initiative for Catalonian Greens-United and Alternative Left, Catalan Solidarity for Independence- whether conservative or radical could gather almost 25% and be formed as front opposition. In this case, the demand of independence could be discussed in a more solid political basis along with the central government of Madrid.

Second, the party of Catalan Solidarity for Independence lost almost 2% of its electoral power, and combining with the increase of Catalonian Greens and the United and Alternative Left by almost 3%, we can come to the conlcusion that a great part of the society is more willing to support radical left which entails further concerns of the people, especially dealing with the economic crisis and joblessness, rather than solely support the party that has the acquisition of independence as its flagship. From this perspective, it is evident that the large demonstration made on the 11th of September is included in the wider sphere of an alternative, pro-social policy that a great part of the Catalan society demands.

Third, the Convergence and Union party lost a significant part of its electoral power and therefore its prevail in the local parliament. Socialists went on the same track counting loses of almost 4%, whereas conservative left of the Republicans gained significant ground (i.e. 6.7%). The fist conclusion is that supporters of Rajoy are falling down along with his austerity politics whereas skeptics of the Left come to displace the sphere of government politics towards a less liberal and more socialist direction.

Overall, the outcome of the Catalan elections shows deeper radicalization of the people in the region which is directly hit by both austerity and irrelevant contribution ratio to the national budget, as being one of the prosperous regions in Spain. The fundamental question now is whether Rajoy’s government will receive the message of the elections or it will remain firm and steady to his politics of recession.

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