Pere Aragonès calls snap Catalan election for May 12

President announces vote after Parliament rejects government's 2024 budget

Pere Aragonès announces a snap election at the Palau de la Generalitat
Pere Aragonès announces a snap election at the Palau de la Generalitat / Bernat Vilaró
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 13, 2024 05:25 PM

March 13, 2024 08:48 PM

Catalan voters will be going to the polls on May 12 after President Pere Aragonès announced a snap election on Wednesday afternoon. 

Aragonès made the announcement after an extraordinary cabinet meeting, following a vote in Parliament which saw the government's 2024 budget plan defeated by 68 votes to 67. 

The Catalan election will take place just weeks before European elections on June 9. 

Aragonès had, until now, always maintained in public that he intended to see out the whole term and call elections for February 2025. 

"Red lines against citizens" 

Aragonès said the "red lines" shown today by parties in Parliament were "not against the government but against citizens." 

Addressing the press at the Palau de la Generalitat, the Catalan president cited a list of items in the budget that would now not become a reality, including €1bn funding to tackle the ongoing drought, and called the parties who voted against the spending plan "irresponsible." 


"In order not to depend on the irresponsibility of those who put party interests ahead of the country, I have decided to call elections for May 12, with the aim of providing us with a much stronger government to move the country forward," Aragonès said.   

Minority government 

Pere Aragonès was voted in as the 132nd president of Catalonia by the pro-independence majority in Parliament in May 2021, after a three-month political deadlock following the last Catalan elections. 

Esquerra Republicana (ERC) have been governing solo since their former coalition partner Junts quit the government in October 2022. 

Since then, the government could only count on ERC's 33 seats in the 135-member chamber, making passing key votes, such as the budget, a difficult task that relied on at least two other parties. 

Opposition parties celebrated the election call as an "opportunity", while also strongly criticizing Pere Aragonès's "personal and political failure."  

What is the Hard Rock project? 

More than ten years after it was first proposed, the leisure and gaming mega-complex to be built in Vila-seca and Salou, Tarragona, near the PortAventura amusement park, has yet to be realized. 

The original project, called Barcelona World, consisted of six theme parks covering 445 hectares. Each park included a casino and hotel, and required an investment of around €4.8 billion. 

In 2014, however, the company behind the original project withdrew, and three years later Hard Rock took over and significantly scaled down the project. 

The current project includes a large casino, two hotels, a large swimming pool, a commercial area and a conference center with a total capacity of 15,000 people.

Areas where the Hard Rock complex in Salou and Vila-seca is to be built
Areas where the Hard Rock complex in Salou and Vila-seca is to be built / Mar Rovira

The Hard Rock project has been stalled for several years, awaiting the approval of a new Urban Development Plan (PDU) since the Catalan High Court (TSJC) annulled the original one in 2020. 

Despite assurances in last year's budget agreement between the government and the Socialists that the process would be completed in the first semester, it is still on hold, awaiting additional reports from the Climate Action Department.