February 14 election formally called with delay not ruled out
Failure to find replacement for disqualified president sends Catalans to ballots
5,623,962 Catalans have been formally called to vote in an early election on February 14.
After the disqualification of President Quim Torra in September, the parliament has been unable to find a replacement for him in two months, as lawmakers agreed not to attempt to, and on Tuesday, the official DOGC gazette published a decree automatically calling a vote after the deadline for appointing a new chief expired.
Parliament speaker Roger Torrent formally confirmed on Monday that no candidate for president has been put forward and dissolved the chamber. Subsequently, interim president Pere Aragonès signed the decree confirming the snap election later in the evening.
The electoral campaign will officially begin on January 29 and end on February 12 – as usual 135 MPs will be elected two days later, of which 85 will belong to the Barcelona constituency, 17 to Girona, 15 to Lleida, and 18 to Tarragona.
The motion published by DOGC establishes that the pandemic could delay the election.
Indeed, a cross-party meeting agreed on Monday that the date would be pushed back if there is "very limited social activity or a total lockdown" at the time.
The political forces running also found agreed to set January 15 as the deadline to decide whether to delay the vote or not.
The period to request mail-in votes began on Tuesday and will end on February 4, which can be done in-person at a post office as usual, but also for the first time from home on Correos website.
In this case, either the certificate IDCAT, T-CAT, the electronic ID (DNI electrònic) or a valid digital certificate will be required.
An end to a turbulent term
Parties of all stripes coincided in assessing the past term negatively.
For Carlos Carrizosa, this is the fault of pro-independence forces. "This past legislature has been one to forget, with separatists that, in the midst of the pandemic, demonstrated they were not here to run Catalonia," he argued.
Pro-independence groups, however, blamed the instability of the past years on a different cause. "This legislature has been cut short on both ends due to Spain’s repression," said Meritxell Budó, the government spokesperson of JxCat. "It started with Madrid imposing direct rule and ended early with President Torra’s disqualification."