Catalan elections will not be held in October

Today was the last day for the Catalan President to dissolve the Parliament and announce if the Election Day would be in October. He has not done so and therefore the most likely election date will be the 28th of November. The last legal possibility would be the 16th of December.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

August 30, 2010 11:55 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- One of the Catalan political rumours of the summer is over. Elections will not be on the 24th of October, as many had been defending for the last few weeks. The Catalan President, José Montilla, the only person who can set the date, has apparently chosen another day. Today was the deadline to announce the date and sign the decree to dissolve the Parliament. The deadline was set because the order must appear the next day in the official journal of Catalonia in respect to the tradition to call elections 54 days in advance. The next likely day is the 28th of November, as before that the Pope will visit Barcelona and there are some bank holidays that could interfere with the campaign and voting.
Catalan elections will not be on the 24th of October as opposition parties wanted. The Socialist leader and President of the Catalan Government has decided to chose a later date, which in theory could better favour his party’s interests. In addition, the leading opposition party-coalition, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party (CIU), which all of the polls point to as the new ruling force, wants to have the elections as soon as possible in order to materialise the current polls. Besides, there is a corruption case court investigation going on that could harm the CiU’s interests and Montilla hopes new revelations will be made in the weeks to come. However, Montilla’s party is also affected by another corruption scandal in court that could also harm him. Montilla has other reasons though, the main one being seeing the effects of the economic crisis recovery bloom and waiting for new measures to deploy the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The Catalan top law was trimmed by the Spanish Constitutional Court in late June and the Spanish Government calmed Catalan claims and anger by promising that new laws will deploy what the Court had cut off. Montilla wants this promise to be a fact and capitalise on this. His last reason to push back the election day is the formation of a new Catalan independence party, which could erode the CiU’s most nationalist base. By the way, this new party, Solidaritat Catalana, agreed yesterday not to form an electoral coalition with another Catalan Independence party appeared in the last months, Reagrupament. Montilla may hope that in the next weeks they may change their minds, as this coalition could stop CiU to have an absolute majority. With this scenario, calendar reasons make that the most likely day will be the 28th of November. The 31st of October is not very likely as the 1st of November is a bank holiday and many people will leave on vacation, thus will not go to vote. Then, on Sunday the 7th, Pope Benedict 16th will visit Barcelona, which would interfere with the voting process. In addition, the next 2 weeks, the visit of the Pope would interfere in the 15-day electoral campaign. Therefore the next possible day would be Sunday the 28th of November. The only problem for that day is the Barça-Madrid football match. It seems that there is not a perfect day for Montilla, but the football match might be rescheduled to Saturday. In any case, Montilla could have until the 16th December to finish his legal term and to schedule the elections. The weekend of the 5th December is close to a bank holiday, which leaves the 12th December as the other possible day. However, the general opinion is that this last option is not likely as it is very late in the calendar.