I am writing this article in order to respond to my colleague Lorenzo G-A Llamas’ article, Secessionism in Times of Crisis: The Case of Spain. We mostly agree about the causes of Catalonia’s will to be independent but I totally disagree with his way of interpreting the last results of the Catalan elections. Llamas argues that “they (Catalans) want solutions, not more problems. They want an economy, that does not mean a new country.” I have an opposite vision of what they (or we) want.
As Llamas explains, Catalonia’s Government advanced the Parliamentary elections because of the last Diada’s manifestation (1.5 million people claiming for the freedom of the region) and its President, Artur Mas, asked for a large majority for his right-wing party (CiU). Mas wanted a strong government to lead the independence, and to demonstrate to Spain that Catalans want the right to vote in a referendum for it (as I explained in my last article Catalans want to vote!).
So, the electoral campaign was focused on three things: independence (or not), right to vote (or not) and the social cutbacks.
The first lesson of the elections results (November 25th) is that Mas has failed in his sovereign aspirations because his party lost 12 of the 62 seats, so it is far from the majority (68 seats), as the Spanish media stated the day later. This is true, but this lecture is not fair because it does not represent what the Catalans voted for. The global results (almost 70% of participation) of the new Catalan Parliament show a majority of seats for pro-referendum parties (87 of 135) and that more than 50% of seats are for pro-independence parties (74 of 135)
Spain has a proportional electoral system, so it allows for the representation of a number of parties. This is normally what happens in the Catalan Parliament which, nowadays, has seven different parties. And that is what Catalans voted for (instead of the majority that Mas wanted):
1- A plural representation of parties (87 seats) that agree with making a referendum –right-wing (CiU, 50 seats), left-wing (ERC, with 21 seats is the second party in the Parliament, so the opposition), ecologist (ICV-EUiA, 13) and a left-wing assembly party (CUP, 3) –
2- A plural representation too to lead the independence (74 seats), represented by CiU (the Govern), ERC (the opposition) and CUP.
In terms of votes; 2,140,314 Catalans voted for some of the pro-referendum parties and 1,334,149 voted against it (PSC –20 seats–, PP –19 seats– and C’s – 9 seats–).
It is true that CiU will have a lot of problems governing, as well as putting in place the social cutbacks. Its last economic partner was the right-wing Spanish party (PP, with 19 seats), however PP has been totally opposed to the referendum and, of course, to the independence. So, CiU has said that they won’t agree to a pact with them again. But, something is clear: the Government of Catalonia and the official opposition agreed to work together for the referendum and for the independence of the region.
So, here I relay a personal message to the Spanish Government: Catalans are not divided; they are plural and, at least, a large majority of them want the right to vote.
Will Spain see the reality?
– Eulàlia Mata
Article of Lorenzo G-A Llamas:
Video (in English) with the explanations of the Catalan Election results by Vilaweb: