Catalan voters buck the trend in Spanish election
Sunday's poll saw an upsurge for parties on the right at the expense of the left, while in Catalonia left-wing and pro-independence parties came out on top
'Catalonia is not Spain,' reads a banner often unfurled at Barcelona football matches by pro-independence supporting fans, and that statement seems to be true at least where the results of Sunday's Spanish general election are concerned.
Voters in Catalonia bucked the trend seen across Spain as a whole, where the parties on the right of the political spectrum made significant gains at the expense of the left-wing parties, and where the whole Catalan independence issue played out very differently.
Winners in Catalonia and Spain
With the Socialists (PSOE) top in Spain as a whole with 120 seats, and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) winning in Catalonia with 13 seats, left-wing parties were victorious in both places, yet PSOE resists self-determination while ERC wants a referendum.
Self-determination was naturally an issue over which Catalan voters differed from those in Spain. Pro-independence parties won a total of 23 seats in Congress - an all-time high - while Spain's unionist parties gained from Spaniards' concerns about the Catalan conflict.
Rise of the far-right
Vox's upsurge saw the far-right party more than double its seats to 52. Yet, Vox's championing of Spanish unity and traditional values did not sit well with voters in Catalonia, where the unionist party won just two seats, or 6% compared to a 15% share in Spain.
It was a similar story for the unionist People's Party (PP), which recovered from its losses in the April election, recovering 22 seats to go up to 88, raising its share of the vote from 16% to 20%. An opponent of self-determination, in Catalonia PP got two Congress seats.
Cs goes into freefall
Yet, another unionist party, Ciudadanos (Cs), went into freefall, losing 47 seats to drop to 10, while its seats in Catalonia fell from 5 to 2, in both places its share now stands at about 6%. For the moment, Cs remains the largest party in the Catalan parliament with 36 seats.
November 10 was also about the left-right split in Spain, with neither bloc in Congress getting a clear majority. Yet, among Catalan parties voters came out in favor of the left-wing parties, which between them got well over 60% of the vote, or 34 seats out of 48.
After four general elections in four years, the level of voter fatigue also separated Spain as a whole from Catalonia, where turnout remained high at 72%, despite a two-point drop, while for Spain, turnout dropped from 71.7% in April to 69.8% on Sunday.