Campaigns for local and European elections get underway
On Sunday May 26, voters in Catalonia and all over Spain will get to choose political representatives to sit in town halls and in Brussels
The campaign period for the local elections is underway, with voters able to cast their ballots to choose who governs in town halls in Catalonia and all over Spain on Sunday May 26.
On that same day, voters will also get to choose the 54 MEPs allocated to Spain who will sit in the European Parliament in Brussels.
Of Catalonia's 948 municipalities, Barcelona is the one attracting the most attention, where Ada Colau is looking to be reelected as mayor of the Catalan capital.
In fact, a recent poll from Spain's Center for Sociological Research (CIS) forecasts Colau winning again, with 23% of the vote and at least 10 or 11 councillors.
Yet, the poll predicts Ernest Maragall, the candidate for the leftwing pro-independence Esquerra party (ERC), close behind with 22.9% of the vote and 9 to 11 councillors.
The Catalan Socialist party (PSC) would be third with 12.9% and 6 or 7 seats, over the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya party (JxCat) in fourth, with 11.2% and 2 to 4 seats.
The Barcelona local election also includes former French prime minister, Manuel Valls, who the poll predicts would be out of the running for mayor, with 11.9% and 5 to 6 seats.
The battle for seats in Brussels
As for what is likely to happen on a European level, the CIS predicts victory for the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE), with 17 or 18 seats in Brussels and 29-31% of the vote.
The run-up to the elections saw much controversy around former president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, who was at first barred from running along with two of his former ministers.
Yet, the ban was overturned by the Constitutional Court, and the Lliures per Europa candidate list he heads is expected to get at least 1 seat in Brussels, with 1-3% of the vote.
The polls predict a better result of 3 seats (5-7%) for Ara Repúbliques, headed by ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, who is in jail while being tried in the Supreme Court.
A feature of Spanish politics in recent months has been the rise of the far-right Vox party, which the CIS predicts will make its debut in Brussels with 4 or 5 seats (7-9% of the vote).
Despite its poor showing in the recent general election, the conservative People's Party (PP) is expected to come second in Spain, with 11 or 12 seats (18-20%).
That would put PP above the unionist Ciudadanos party (Cs) and the leftwing Podemos party, which are expected to get 8 seats each, with around 14% of the vote.