What we learned from the Catalan election

24 December, 2017, 00:56 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • What we learned from the Catalan election

The newspaper El Mundo's editorial on Friday labelled Ciudadanos "the future of the Spanish center right", arguing that the Catalan election had made the party a solid contender in the PP's political space at the national level. "Independence has won but in a way similar to 2015 - majority of seats but not in votes".

The leader of one separatist party, Oriol Junqueras, was in solitary confinement in a Spanish prison when he was re-elected.

But the pro-independence bloc consisting of three parties - JuntsxCat, ERC and CUP - kept its absolute majority in the 135-seat regional parliament, crossing the threshold of 68 required for a majority.

But Catalonia's political landscape remains crowded and complicated and it is hard to see a way forward through it. It has already unsettled not only Spain but also its neighbours in the European Union, many of whom are fearful of separatist challenges of their own at a time of rising populism and nationalism. Spain's government was hoping that election would tamp down a separatist movement.

The party leader, Inés Arrimadas, said: "We'll see how a coalition can be formed".

But the reality is it's very hard to see how Ms Arrimadas has any realistic chance of forming a government when the numbers are stacked against her - however narrowly.




Rajoy told reporters that he will have dialogue within the law with only a regional leader who has been officially appointed.

And there, of course, is the problem.

And here is a further layer of complexity, in case this didn't seem complicated enough.

During Friday's press conference, Rajoy sidestepped a question on whether he would be willing to take up an invitation from ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to meet following the election results.

Madrid stepped in after Catalan lawmakers declared independence, dismissing Puigdemont's government and dissolving parliament using the contentious Article 155 of the country's constitution. The second biggest separatist party is Republican Left of Catalonia, led by former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, who is now in a Spanish jail facing accusations of rebellion and sedition for his part in organizing October's referendum.

After months of feuding, Rajoy, Catalonia and indeed all of Spain ended up close to where the crisis had started.

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