The last polls before the Spanish elections confirm the People’s Party absolute majority
In Catalonia, the PP would get its best results in history, and could become the second most voted party in the territory, a position disputed with the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). The Socialist Party, which has won the Spanish elections in Catalonia for the last 32 years, might still win, but it will be a close battle with the CiU and the PP. A major surprise in Catalonia cannot be completely ruled out. In any case, on the contrary to previous elections and as it seemed some weeks ago, votes in Catalonia might not change the final results and the PP’s absolute majority would not depend on its Catalan supports.
Barcelona (ACN).- The last polls before next Sunday\u2019s general elections in Spain were released on Sunday by the main Spanish newspapers. All forecast absolute majority for the conservative and Spanish nationalist People\u2019s Party (PP), which would get its best ever results. While the absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament is set at 176 MPs, polls give the PP between 184 and 198, depending on the media company publishing the polls. The PP\u2019s best results had been in 2000, winning 183 seats. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which currently runs the Government and has 169 MPs, would get, according to this weekend\u2019s polls, between 110 and 126 seats. The PSOE\u2019s worst results in the Spanish elections have been 118 MPs in 1977, 121 MPs in 1979 and 125 MPs in 2000. This last weekend\u2019s polls indicated another element: votes in Catalonia would not play any deciding role in the main development of the elections, the contrary happened in 2008 and in 2004. Besides, a few weeks ago it also seemed that votes from Catalonia would be essential to guarantee the absolute majority to the PP. Not any more. The PP\u2019s absolute majority across Spain is so large, so sure that it does not need to obtain a decent result in Catalonia, a territory where the conservatives and Spanish nationalists have historically had poor results, compared to those of in the rest of the country. Even if the results in Catalonia do not decide on whether the PP win an absolute majority, it will still be interesting to observe if the Socialists resist as the first party in the Autonomous Community or if they are overtaken by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) or even the PP. In both cases, it would be a major surprise and a change of the political paradigm in Catalonia, as the Socialist party has been winning the general elections for the last 32 years. Since Catalonia has a different political landscape than the rest of Spain, there are also two other parties to consider: the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), who would get between 2 or 3 MPs (now it has 3 MPs), and the Catalan Green Socialist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), who may get between 2 or 3 MPs (now it has 1 MP).
While the results of the electoral battle for the whole of Spain seem decided, in Catalonia, almost anything could happen. Catalonia has traditionally been a great bag of votes for the Socialist party in the Spanish elections. There, the PSOE merged with local Socialists parties in 1978, and they call themselves the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). In 2008, the PSC got its best results ever in Catalonia, winning 25 MPs out of 47, while the PP only won 8 MPs.
The crucial difference in 2008 will not be at all decisive in 2011
In the Spanish Parliament, the PSOE (with the PSC) and the PP had a difference of 15 MPs, while 17 MPs separated both parties in Catalonia. In 2008, MPs from Catalonia took a PP victory away from and gave it to Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero. However, according to last weekend\u2019s polls, Catalan MPs would not play a crucial difference in Madrid this time, since the difference between the PP and the PSOE in the Spanish Parliament might range between 58 and 88 MPs. A PP tsunami, as some Spanish media call it. In addition, the PP would win between 4 and 5 more MPs than the 8 it obtained in 2008 in Catalonia. This means, at least, a 50% increase in the number of MPs in Catalonia. On top of this, the PP would get 1 MP in the Catalan Province of Girona, the only one among the 50 Spanish provinces where the PP did not get any MP in 2008. However, since polls are predicting such a wide absolute majority, the PP does not even need this 50% MP increase in Catalonia or to win an MP in Girona, as the worst polls for the PP\u2019s interests give them 9 MPs above the absolute majority.
The PSC risks a loss in Catalonia
The PSC has always won the Spanish general elections in Catalonia. In 2008, it won 25 MPs out of the total 47 MPs, which means a virtual absolute majority in Catalonia (winning 53.2% of the Catalan MPs). Next November 20th, the last polls before the elections indicated that the PSC could loose up to 40% of its seats in Catalonia, passing from 25 to 15 MPs. Catalonia is where the Socialist party would loose the greatest number of MPs in percentage terms, together with Aragón. Loosing 10 MPs in Catalonia would significantly contribute to the humiliating defeat predicted by the polls, loosing between 43 to 59 MPs in total across Spain, and probably facing their worst results in history, or in the last three decades.
CiU and the PP fight for second place in Catalonia
The PSC\u2019s spectacular MP decrease in Catalonia would be paired with the increase of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the People\u2019s Party (PP). Some citizens who voted the PSC in 2008 might give their vote to the PP, the CiU, or abstain or even decide on the NOTA vote. The PP has traditionally be a minor party in Catalonia, being the third or the fourth party in the elections. However, last weekend\u2019s polls indicated the PP could be the second most voted party in Catalonia in the next elections, above the CiU, which would be the third force. Nevertheless, taking the number of MPs into account, the CiU would still beat the PP, since the PP vote is more concentrated in Greater Barcelona, while the CiU\u2019s is spread across Catalonia and would get more MPs. Polls have given the PP between 12 and 14 MPs, while the CiU would get between 13 and 15 MPs. Both parties would increase their current results, but the PP would see the largest growth.
The CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, had its best results in the Spanish Parliament in the 1990s, with up to 18 MPs, while in 2008 it won 10 seats. TheCiU\u2019s growth, passing from 10 to 13 or 14 MPs could be seen as a poor result if the PP also wins 14 MPs and, in addition, it gets more votes than the Catalan nationalists. The CiU needs a better result than the PP to seem strong in the Spanish Parliament and have enough power to negotiate with the Spanish Government in the next four years.
There could be a major surprise in Catalonia
Taking the latest polls into account, one week before the elections, one cannot completely rule out a major surprise in Catalonia. The latest polls are worse for the PSC than those published a few weeks ago. If the trend continues one more week, however unlikely it is taking into account historical results, the PSC could get even less than 15 MPs. If this happened and the CiU or the PP got the best results predicted by the polls, the PSC would loose its hegemony in the Spanish elections in Catalonia. This would mean a major change of the political paradigm in Catalonia.
There could also be another possibility, which is a virtual draw between the PSC, the CiU and the PP in the number of MPs. A People\u2019s Party getting the same number of MPs than the first party in Catalonia was something absolutely unthinkable just one month ago. Now, it does not appear impossible.
ERC and ICV-EUiA may get between 2 and 3 MPS
Catalonia has a different political landscape than the rest of Spain. Even though, according to last weekends polls there are three parties playing a major role in the next elections in Catalonia (PSC, CiU and PP), there are two other parties that will win parliamentary representation. The first is the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party \u2018Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya\u2019 (ERC), which runs with other pro-Catalan independence minor parties. ERC currently has 3 MPs. Polls indicate that quite likely it would remain with the same representation, or in a worse case scenario it could loose 1 MP. The other political force to consider is the Catalan Green Socialist Coalition \u2018Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds\u2019 (ICV), which runs together with the Catalan branch of the Communist \u2018Izquierda Unida\u2019, \u2018Esquerra Unida i Alternativa\u2019 (EUiA), as they did in previous elections. ICV-EUiA might pass from 1 MP to 2 or even 3, according to last weekend\u2019s polls.