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Rajoy will kick off the Spanish electoral campaign in Catalonia for the first time

Catalonia has a different political landscape than the rest of Spain, and it is where the People’s Party (PP) always gets its worst results. Polls indicate that in the next Spanish elections, the People’s Party will be very far from winning in Catalonia but it could get its best results winning between 12 and 14 seats. Looking to ensure an absolute majority in Spain, the PP’s leader Mariano Rajoy plans to better the party’s results in Catalonia and therefore decided to start the official campaign in a town from Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

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27 October 2011 01:23 AM

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ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Barcelona (ACN).- The People\u2019s Party decided to significantly improve its traditionally poor results in Catalonia in the next Spanish elections in order to ensure an absolute majority. The People\u2019s Party (PP), which is the main opposition party in Spain and according to all the polls will win the next Spanish elections, announced on Wednesday that it will start its official campaign in Catalonia. The PP\u2019s President and candidate to become the next Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, will perform the ceremony of unveiling the electoral posters in the Catalan coastal town of Castelldefels, in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. The reason is that polls indicate that the PP might get its best results ever in Catalonia in the next elections passing from the current 8 seats to 12 or even 14. For the first time, the Spanish nationalist and conservative PP will kick off the campaign in Catalonia, which has traditionally been a difficult place for them regarding electoral results. For instance in the last Spanish elections in 2008, the PP won 8 seats while the Socialist Party won 25, a difference of 17 seats. In the current Spanish Parliament, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has 169 seats and the PP has 154, a difference of 15 seats. Without the Catalan results, the PP would have won the 2008 Spanish elections. A similar situation happened in 2004. Aware of this fact, the People\u2019s Party started a strategy to improve its results in Catalonia, and it seems it is succeeding when looking at the last Catalan and municipal elections, as well as the polls for the upcoming vote.


In fact, Catalonia has a completely different political landscape than the rest of Spain. Spain is mainly a bipartisan country and is absolutely dominated by the People\u2019s Party and the Spanish Socialist Party. Catalonia is not. In the last regional and municipal elections held in many Spanish Autonomous Communities (except Catalonia and two others), the PP won a crushing victory everywhere in Spain, obtaining an absolute majority in most of the main city councils and regional parliaments. However not in Catalonia, where the elections were only at municipal level. The PP was the third party in number of votes in Catalonia, with half the votes of the second party, and was fourth in the number of seats at town halls, with just 12% the seats of those obtained by the winning party. However, the PP significantly improved its results compared to 2007, almost doubling its number of seats and getting good results in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. And despite not being one of the main parties in Catalonia, the PP managed to win in Badalona, Catalonia\u2019s third biggest city. It did so with a campaign that has been denounced as racist and populist by the other parties, focusing on immigration and security.

However, the PP not only improved its results in the last municipal elections, it also did so in the last Catalan elections, held in November 2010. The PP managed to become Catalonia\u2019s third party in the Parliament, reaching a record 18 MPs in a 135 seat chamber (the first party has 62 seats). The PP got those results mainly due to the collapse of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the vote transfer in working class neighbourhoods of Greater Barcelona. And it managed to rank third because Catalonia\u2019s third party, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), plummeted due to internal problems and a fragmentation of the vote.

According to the last polls, the PP could increase by 50% the number of seats corresponding to Catalonia in the Spanish Parliament. The PP\u2019s main candidate in Catalonia, Jorge Fernández Díaz, stated that the Spanish elections \u201Care to be decided in Catalonia\u201D. Fernández hopes to repeat the 12 MPs the PP won in 2000, when José Maria Aznar managed an absolute majority. However, there are polls that indicated that the PP could get even 14 seats. Now they have 8, and in 2004 they won 6. The PP knows it has no possibility of winning in Catalonia, but not getting bad results in Catalonia is key to an absolute majority. The Socialist Party, which gets excellent results in Catalonia in the Spanish elections, will probably face its worst results in many years, passing from 25 to 19 or even plummeting to 14 seats (depending on the poll). In fact, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) could even not be the most voted party, as the last poll released Monday indicated a possible victory for the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU), which currently runs the Catalan Government and most of the main town halls in the country. Despite the Government\u2019s erosion due to public spending cuts to reduce the Catalan public deficit, CiU would improve its results when compared to 2008 and perhaps could overtake the Socialists as the most voted party. However, other polls issued some weeks ago even put them as the third party just below the PP, which could become the second party in Catalonia.

Polls are thus not very conclusive fine tuning the vote prediction. In any case, what all polls coincide is in the trends: the PSC is likely to drop significantly. CiU looks likely to increase its number of seats, as well as the PP, which proportionally would have the greatest increase. Another coincidence is that the differences between the first three parties will be much smaller.

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  • Mariano Rajoy, President and candidate of the People's Party (PP), in a recent picture (by ACN)

  • Mariano Rajoy, President and candidate of the People's Party (PP), in a recent picture (by ACN)