Parties prepare for February 14 election amid date confusion

Despite court rulings and appeals over date change, parliamentary groups are preparing strategies for earlier vote

Parliamentary groups discuss the February 14 Catalan elections (by Mariona Puig)
Parliamentary groups discuss the February 14 Catalan elections (by Mariona Puig) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 23, 2021 02:19 PM

Catalan political parties are already preparing for a February 14 election and drawing up campaign plans, despite the consensus among parliamentary groups being in favour of holding the vote on May 30. 

The date of the upcoming election has been subject to much confusion, as initially the February date was set before being postponed by a government decree as a result of the ongoing health crisis. However, the Catalan high court then scrapped this delay on the grounds of legal technicalities over how the decree was written, and argued that public consensus is in favour of holding a vote that has been spoken about in the chamber for over a year already. 

The magistrates will consider arguments and challenges and will make a final decision on the election date before February 8, potentially with the campaign already having started. 

But in the meantime, parties are taking for granted that the earlier date will be kept, and as such are preparing their political strategies for the coming three weeks. The campaign will begin at 00:00 on January 29th. 

The independence bloc are hoping to keep a hold of their majority in the parliament, something under threat given that the Socialists have been surging in polls ever since Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, announced he would run as the frontrunner for what is expected to be the biggest unionist party in Catalonia after the vote. 

The two coalition parties currently in government, Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana, have denounced a "state operation" orchestrated by the Spanish government and the Catalan high court to force the February date. However, neither JxCat nor ERC are considering a new decree or a government appeal. In fact, both parties have emphasised they are "prepared" for the earlier date set.

The latest poll suggested that one of ERC (31-33) or the Socialists (30-35) will be declared the winner, while showing the pro-independence majority in the parliament to be at risk.