Catalan elections will take place on the 28th November

Catalan President José Montilla has finally announced the voting day after weeks of rumours. He surprised many people last week when he did not dissolve the Parliament and did not call for elections on the 24th of October, the most likely day. The opposition as well as a party in his Government coalition were asking for an urgent clarification and to have the elections as soon as possible.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

September 7, 2010 10:51 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government, José Montilla, is the only person with the power to dissolve the Parliament and choose the day for the next elections. Today he has made use of this power, announcing that the elections will take place on Sunday, the 28th of November. This date will mark exactly 4 years after he took office. The day is conditioned by the Pope’s visit to Barcelona on the 7th of November and by bank holidays on the 1st November and 6th of December. The anecdote underlined by all is that the chosen weekend will coincide with the top football match FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, which could have affects on the turnover if played the same Sunday.

The date chosen for the elections is completely respectful with the law, as the Catalan President had until the 12th of December to pick the day. However, the process has been capturing a lot of attention, as opposition parties have been asking for advanced elections for months, not to mention years. The rumours intensified in this last month and became one of the main subjects of political debate. Many people were convinced that the Catalan President will choose Sunday the 24th of October for the elections. They were expecting the announcement last week, exactly 53 days in advance, as the electoral law fixes. However, Montilla, who leads the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), did not announce the dissolution of the Parliament. After pressure from the opposition and even from one of the government coalition member parties, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), Montilla said he will announce the day this week after informing the ministers of his government and the President of the Catalan Parliament. And so he did.

Montilla will sign the decree on the 4th of October and the Parliament will be dissolved. In the meanwhile, Montilla stressed that the term is not over and the political agenda of the Government is still ongoing. In this sense, the President of the Catalan Parliament and member of ERC, Ernest Benach, has underlined that there will still be time for another plenary session to approve new laws.

Reactions from political parties

Artur Mas, the opposition leader and President of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party Coalition (CiU), has called for a finish to the 3-party left-wing coalition that has been ruling Catalonia since 2003. He insisted that even if polls show good results for the CiU, nothing has been won yet. Artur Mas made a press conference in the CiU headquarters with 9 Catalan flags at his back, showing a studied presidential look. Joan Puigcercós, president of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), –part of the governing coalition- stressed that the real debate is not on the election day but on the issues discussed. He has stated that his party will only make agreements with parties that support an independence referendum, which would mean putting aside the current agreement with the Socialists. The Socialists do not support such referendum. Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, leader of the Catalan branch of the Conservative and Spanish Nationalist People’s Party (PPC), has stressed that her campaign will focus on “the real problems for Catalans”, as she said. Joan Herrera, president of the Catalan Eco-Socialist Party (ICV), –the 3rd party in the ruling coalition- has said that Catalonia needs a left-wing government and cannot go back to having a conservative government. Albert Rivera, president from the Anti-Catalan Nationalist Citizen’s Party (Ciudadanos), has declared that the 28th of November will be the day that the ruling 3-party coalition will die.