Barcelona (ACN).- The parties defending independence have clearly won the Catalan elections celebrated on the 25th of November, which have had the highest turnout in the last 24 years. In addition, parties protesting against the budget cuts and austerity measures all have increased support. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which has been running the Catalan Government for the last two years and was aiming for “an exceptional majority”, has won the elections but lost 12 MPs, obtaining 50 seats in the 135-seat Parliament. However, the parties defending the organisation of an independence referendum within the next four years increase their support and obtain 64.4% of the seats in the new Catalan Parliament, increasing the number of their MPs from 86 to 87. In addition, the parties clearly defending independence get 54.4% of the MPs. The parties completely opposing independence obtain 35.6% of the seats, losing 1 MP. Another major change is the increase in left-wing MPs, increasing from 51 to 66 seats, while in parallel, right-wing parties decreased from 80 to 69 MPs. Besides, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) has become the second-largest force in the Parliament, doubling its results from 10 to 21 MPs. Support for the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which has been one of the two largest parties in Catalonia for the last 30 years with the CiU, has plummeted from 28 to 20 seats, obtaining its worst results ever (as in 2010) and ending up behind the ERC. The conservative and Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP), which currently runs the Spanish Government, has increased from 18 to 19 MPs, which represents a record high for this party in Catalonia. Despite the increase, the PP will drop from being the third to the fourth largest party in the chamber. In addition, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) has grown from 10 to 13 MPs. The anti-Catalan nationalism and left-wing party Ciutadans (C’s) have tripled their results and obtain 9 MPs, which enables them to form their own parliamentary group for the first time ever. The anti-capitalism and radical independence coalition CUP has obtained 3 MPs, thus entering into the Catalan Parliament for the first time. Finally, the radical independence party Solidaritat (SI) has not won any seats.
Therefore, the composition of the Catalan Parliament will be the following, while the absolute majority is to be reached with 68 MPs: the CiU, 50; the ERC, 21; the PSC, 20; the PP, 19; the ICV-EUiA, 13; the C’s, 9; and the CUP, 3. SI is out from the new Parliament. In addition, the turnout was the highest in the last seven elections, reaching 69.6%, while in 2010 it was 58.8%.
Parties defending independence obtained 54.4% of the MPs
The CiU, the ERC and the CUP are defending the creation of an independent Catalan state, although they have very different economic proposals. Altogether they have 74 MPs, which represent 54.4% of the seats. These result cannot be compared with the 2010 elections because the CiU did not support independence in its former campaign, although many of its voters did. In fact, this is one of the possible explanations for the decrease in support for the CiU in the current elections. The parties clearly supporting independence in the last elections (ERC and SI) obtained 10.4% of the votes, although many voters from other parties also supported independence (such as the CiU and the ICV-EUiA).
Parties defending an independence referendum increased
In addition, the CiU, the ERC, the CUP and the ICV-EUiA are proposing the organisation of an independence referendum within the next four years, developing a legal Catalan framework if the Spanish Government blocks the initiative. Altogether they count for 87 MPs, representing 64.4% of the seats. The Catalan Parliament’s resolution proposing the organisation of an independence referendum, voted on last summer, obtained the support of 84 MPs. Furthermore, for the first time ever the PSC has included the reform of the Spanish Constitution in its programme for these elections, in order to celebrate “a legal referendum”. However, the PSC refuses the organisation of a referendum without this reform. Therefore, including the PSC, 107 MPs, representing 79.3% of the Catalan Parliament, would like the Spanish Government to reform the Constitution to allow the organisation of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.
Parties opposing independence obtained 35.6% of the MPs
The PSC, the PP and the C’s are against Catalonia’s independence from Spain. In 2010 they represented 49 MPs in 2010 and now they have decreased to 48 MPs. They now represent 35.6% of the Catalan Parliament. However, the PP and the C’s, which are those completely opposed to an independence referendum, have grown from 21 to 28 seats, representing now 20.7% of the MPs.
Parties that approved the budget cuts obtained 51.1% of the seats
In addition, these elections were also about the austerity measures implemented over the last two years and the measures to be taken to fight the economic crisis and guarantee the Welfare State. The CiU and the PP, which passed the budget cuts, obtained 69 MPs, representing 51.1% of the Catalan Parliament. However, in 2010, they obtained 80 seats. Besides, support for the left-wing parties that are against the austerity measures and the budget cuts grew, increasing from 51 to 66 MPs, representing 48.9% of the Parliament.
Mas (CiU): “We are far away from the majority we wanted”
The incumbent President of the Catalan Government and leader of the CiU, Artur Mas, called for the earlier elections. He was asking for “an exceptional majority” to lead the self-determination process towards an independent Catalan state. He was trying to make these elections about the independence issue and not about the economic crisis, especially because of the austerity measures adopted. In addition, in the tensest campaign ever in Catalonia, the CiU, and Mas in particular, have been targeted by Spanish nationalist media that accused them of corruption based on a falsified report. This scandal has been the main focus of attention in the last week of campaign. On Sunday, support for the CiU decreased from 62 to 50 MPs. “We are far away from the majority we wanted”, stated Mas. However, he added that “we are 2.5 times the size of the second largest party”. The CiU leader claimed: “despite not having the majority we asked for, within the worst circumstances and with a clear electoral programme proposing the right to self-determination, we have won the elections”. Therefore, Mas stated, “the process towards self-determination goes on”. In a clear reference to the ERC, he asked “to share responsibilities”, which include “governing the daily decisions”.
Junqueras (ERC): “the process towards independence is clearly stronger”
The President of the ERC, who was running for Catalan President for the first time, will be the leader of the second-largest party in the Catalan Parliament with 21 seats. It will be the first time the ERC has been the second-largest party, having grown by 11 MPs. In front of a cheering crowd, Junqueras started his speech by saying he is “happy for the party but very worried for the country, for the people, their future and the future of our economy”. Junqueras stated he will work towards independence but also for an alternative social and economic model. The ERC leader emphasised that “the Catalan people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly”. Immediately he added the “the block against self-determination has increased” and “the process towards independence is clearly stronger”.
Navarro (PSC): “we were in a complicated moment”
The Catalan Socialist (PSC) are no longer the second-largest party in the Catalan Parliament. The PSC’s Secretary General, Pere Navarro, said they “were in a complicated moment”. “In such tense elections, it is likely that our message had difficulties reaching [the people]”. The PSC obtained its worst results ever, dropping from 28 to 20 MPs. In 2010, they had already obtained their previous worst results. However, Navarro was satisfied and considered they had a “good campaign”, as electoral polls were forecasting a possible decrease to 15 seats. Therefore, his first words of the election night were for his team “to thank” them.
Sánchez-Camacho (PP): “Mr Mas has failed in these elections”
The leader of the Catalan branch of the conservative and Spanish nationalist PP, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho was extremely happy, after having gained a new party record in Catalonia. The PP has obtained 19 seats, one more than in 2010, despite having been running the Spanish Government for one year and having approved unpopular austerity measures. However the PP has focused this campaign on opposing independence, with a speech portraying an economic cataclysm if Catalonia became independence and. The PP has put all their strength in play on this campaign, including many visits from Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy and other PP leaders. The PP, which despite having increased by 1 MP is now the fourth-largest party in the Catalan Parliament, emphasised that the CiU is the greatest loser of the election night. “Mas and the CiU are the great losers of the elections”, stated Sánchez-Camacho. She also added that “support for independence has decreased”.
Herrera (ICV-EUiA): “We want a front against budget cuts”
The leader of the ICV-EUiA, Joan Herrera, emphasised that people have voted against the budget cuts. “Many of the people who demonstrated on the streets, demonstrated at the ballot boxes”, he said. Herrera was satisfied with “a great result throughout the country”, he stated. The ICV-EUiA has increased from 10 to 13 MPs, “a result that has grown with the turnout”, he added. “In a context of more national polarisation than ever before, some people did not want [the campaign] to talk about the social reality”, he emphasised. Herrera underlined that many people voted against the austerity measures and he claimed: “We want a front against budget cuts”. In a reference to the ERC, he added that “we want the left-wing [parties] not to vote for Mas” as the next Catalan President.
Rivera (C’s): “We ask for Mas to step down”
Albert Rivera, the leader of the anti-Catalan nationalism and left-wing Ciutadans, was extremely happy with the results obtained. C’s have tripled their results, increasing from 3 to 9 MPs. They will be able to form their own parliamentary group for the first time ever. Rivera stated in front of party supporters that he will ask “Mas to resign as Catalan President”. “We ask for Mas to step down” he repeated. According to him, the Catalan President and CiU leader has failed as he called for early elections two years before the scheduled date, in order to obtain more support.
Fernandez (CUP): “the financial markets vote each day”
David Fernández, the main candidate of the anti-capitalism and radical independence coalition CUP (‘Candidatures d’Unitat Popular’) was very satisfied as the CUP will enter the Catalan Parliament for the first time, after running for the first time ever as well. Fernández stated that people have voted today, “but financial markets vote each day” and “they have been doing so for the last five years”. He added that even though now they are in the Parliament, “democracy is defended on the streets” and he asked people to continue demonstrating.